Tag: love

Humbled by Shadow

Today, I am in awe, and the teleological majesty of our Universe strikes me with wonder.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch our moon eclipse the sun in-person, but I was witness to several renderings on television that still brought tears to my eyes.

My husband, who I shook out of bed and forced to come downstairs and watch, was also in awe, but he wondered aloud what it was that got people so riled up. On camera, thousands of people at each sighting were screaming and cheering, some in absolute stunned silence. I was sitting on the couch with a coffee in my hands and was dissolving in a puddle of tears of joy and wonderment.

What is it? This thing that fills us up and compels us to scream and shout to the heavens, what substance filters through the air to our brains and makes us jump on our feet? It can’t be articulated very easily with science, I don’t think. Sure, a scientist could tell you what joy is and why we experience it, but why did thousands of people come to one place and lose themselves as the moon perfectly aligned with our star and left us in twilight?

I think, as my husband later described, something as impossibly precise and perfect and stunning as an eclipse is a big ol’ “I love you.” I have a hard time conceiving how we could live in a Universe so precise and breathtaking that manifested on its own. Imagine, the Earth is spinning at thousands of miles per hour on its own axis, its poles drawing ellipses in space as it wobbles, and the moon does its own rotation around the Earth and revolves on its own axis. Even greater than this, both us and our moon circle the sun at thousands of miles an hour, still, on a gigantic ellipse, sometimes near and sometimes far from this compact ball of heat and radiation. Better yet, if we’re really lucky, we get to witness a point in which we are so perfectly in line with the celestial entities which regulate the natural processes of our Earth that one completely covers the other and a ring of fire at thousands of degrees encircles our moon and blinks its very precise cast of shadow.

It’s beyond my imagination and ability to understand, frankly. I took an Earth science class in which, I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried in class more than once just learning about this place that sustains and amazes us. I know not everyone has the love affair with the Earth and Nature that I do, but today, hundreds of thousands of people and maybe millions of people stared at the same stretch of sky and screamed for joy at the majesty of creation.

It can’t be explained or quantified or discounted. Something so incredible and bigger than us made us feel about the size of a pin-prick in the backdrop of our Universe, and we LOVED IT.

Today for a couple of hours, all of our petty, (and sometimes not-so-petty) issues didn’t matter. Today, we were all under the same sky, subject to the same laws of Nature, and wondering at how lucky we are to be alive. Perhaps that’s part of it, too. We were one, and we felt unified again. It is rare to feel at one with the rest of humanity, but today, we were in awe together, and we felt grateful to be here.

I agree. Today was a great big “I love you,” and I felt a touch of timeless divinity. I imagine that whatever Creator put things into motion must love us because an ambivalent God wouldn’t put such care into the mechanics of our lives. If not, then my puny human brain can’t help but love It, this God, for the purity of a spirit that can put things like a first-person witness to the workings of astronomy into motion.

The Lonely and the UnQuiet Minds

Some of the times that I’m most convinced there is a God, there is no powerful glimpse, no experience of torrential downpour with the echo chamber of thunder to scream to me “Here I am.”  Sometimes, there is that quiet whisper and in nothing you were expecting, but in the trembling fulfillment of a promise that you have awaited for so long.

I see God powerfully and yet underwhelmingly in humans, more specifically, my humans.

Today, my husband finally came through on his promise to make me a CD of his music. HIS music that he wrote, that he mastered, that he brought from the recesses of his brilliant mind into fruition through technology. I had been nagging him to make me one, and he came through with two.

To test out the music, we hopped into my old car whose speakers deliver music more exceptionally than any newfangled add-in could, and we drove through the rural night to experience his compositions.

I’m not ashamed to say that I experienced a transcendence through time, space, and matter to reach God in these moments. Sounds idiotic, probably, but I don’t know any other way to say it.

I was an extremely lonely child, one with nightmares that regularly shook me out of peacefulness, one with visions of dead loved ones and panicked premonitions of my own death to take the joy out of childhood. I was strange and not accepted, and I was dying for God to give me someone.

I remember begging God for a new brain when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. I would scream for relief inside my own head so the images would stop, so I could just live and be at peace.

Little did I know that the turmoil inside my own safe place, the lockbox of my consciousness, was churning into something that would form Taylor. It would form the individual, and the result would be something that I’m proud to be. It’s not fun to live in a brain that experiences everything vividly, sometimes horrifyingly, and it’s extremely lonely to live in such a headspace because it’s difficult to connect with other people when you genuinely believe that there’s no one in this world that could quite get what and who you are.

I am an artist. God knew that when he molded me from stardust and breathed into me to form my writhing, unsatisfied, searching soul. He knew that my journey would be lonely, but he told me in small ways “Your time will come.”

I think God knows what it’s like to be lonely. I don’t think that I would want to worship a God who was so far distanced from creation that he couldn’t understand the most painful parts of the existence he designed. He knows. And he was there with me all the times I begged for that person who would be what I desired in a life-friend.

So, as I drove with my husband down the winding roads, often wooded, at some points shrouded in salmon light from the clouded sunset that draped over us, I touched God and I finally was able to wrap his fulfilled promise around my throat like a wool scarf at the end of a very long, frigid winter day.

I found him.

Listening to Parker’s music was like tapping into the frequency of his soul, and I, at times, felt so overwhelmed with the beauty of it that I wanted to disappear and lay on my back in it. I wanted to wade in the existence of a soul like his that I was sure, in the peaks of my loneliness, didn’t exist.



Yeah, I Got Married. Whatsittooya?

A rotund boulder has been sitting on my mind, squashing out farts of ideas as it creaks a barely comprehensible whisper…you are not good enough. You are doomed.

These pointed thoughts of self-doubt extend endlessly in all directions. I am concerned for the hardiness of my abilities, for the strength of my state of mind, for my possibilities of success, but also I fear for the failure of the most basic parts of me. I fear failure of my character and my humanity. I fear dissolution.

Perhaps I fear that the failure of things to which I devote myself is an indication of a failure of myself. Perhaps that’s always what I’ve felt, and I can’t help but think that those thoughts wouldn’t be an issue if someone hadn’t radically modified beautiful, figure-it-out-as-you-go ideas into crappy substitutes out of bitterness.

Because none of us are so good at leaving things alone, letting them flourish in delightful ambiguity, cultures and times have created stigmas out of unshaped or highly-valued ideas (love, marriage, success, identity). The cultures and the times rot away the amoeba shape into crisp, but unforgiving lines. These lines, once amorphous, molded into shapes which suit each sculptor, now seem rigid and immovable. These transformations have gone from concepts to rules, and rules are terrifying because “What happens if you break the rules?”

Transformations like: “togetherness” to “contractual obligations,”

friendship” to “bread winning” to “house keeping” to “duties,”

giving” to “trade” and “return on investment.”

The pureness of these once beautifully ambiguous concepts like marriage and all the nestled, sub-divided ideals have been totally corroded into commercial, socially and culturally acceptable, role-cementing rules and regulations.

I think to myself, “I’ve got an amoeba partnership, and how I’d love to keep it as it is.” There are no “You shoulds” and “I shoulds,” there are no, “Don’t dos” and “Must dos,” but that still beautiful unmoldedness of just “doing” and just “enjoying.” How I panic and want to cling to these moments when I think, “When will it happen? When will the ‘hard times’ come?”

I look over at my best friend, husband, the most beautiful human on God’s green Earth and I want to cry for fear that things will get bad…because that’s what people tell me will happen. We tell each other, “Things will be hard.”

But why? Why must they be hard? Because life is? I think that’s a man-created rule, and I don’t wish to believe it.

Perhaps it’s willful obstinance to believe that two best friends can go on living peacefully, laughing off blunders, passing off moodiness, and giving to each other without asking, but I was always very good at being stubborn.

I think it absolutely horrifying that the amoeba shape of love and commitment has been bludgeoned into conformity for a culture that loves rules, loves boxes, loves power structures and docile wives. The jokes, the “pity me” cries for help from married couples, the witnessed fights and dissolved marriages, they all cry loudly, they all scream at me their dominance, their control over me.

But, as I search for something louder, I settle on the faint breathing of my husband, the rustling of skin on skin as he rubs his feet together. As I search for something as domineering as these hardened voices, all I can pick up on is the light sensation of a hand on my arm, the joy of a laughing smile, the smell of a day-old-shower.

Happy marriages don’t scream as loudly as sad ones, unfortunately, and if they did, our culture would tell it to shut itself up. Maybe the word marriage is damaged beyond repair, especially for me, but the idea of me…of him…and of us, that one’s not damaged.

I think I’ll slip on a protective cover littered with “I love yous” and hugs for no real reason. I’ll glue it to the surface with sloppy kisses and let those quiet reminders overwhelm me, tired as I am of all the screaming.

Dogs Are Not Man’s Best Friend

Howling, aching creature. You wail at my departure, fearful that you’ve done something to deserve being left alone to die.

Once, so far, you’ve been uprooted. Your love lands recklessly where mine is careful, where mine is reluctant to let go. Here, you seized me. Your pointy whisker lips grace all areas of my face, peeking tongue wetting my freckles with individual kisses. You sniff, you must sniff my breath for every I love you. Believe me, dog, every breath is an I love you.

I’m scared to say it to you because I know you won’t believe me soon. I’ll grab your head and kiss the velvet, fiercely, desperately, as your new owner takes you to your home. You might think that I’ve found you flawed, that I’ve declared you an exile from my pack. But please, sniff my breath, sniff it while you can, graze me with those whiskers, let me smooth your fur with my lips and whisper comforts to you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I find you satisfactory, lanky specimen. Though you goose-egged my shin in full-stride through the yard, I find you perfect.

Though you ate everything I left in your path like a goat with reckless abandon, I find you perfect.

I wonder at the short-lived, powerful attachment. You, ancient animal, and me, arrogant human. You imprinted on me the quack of your character with the first burped grumble. I mourn for you and I hope you don’t forget my breaths, the smell of it, the volume of my declarations.

How strange it is to love an animal. To feel the urge to lead, and yet love, to discipline and shower with every conceivable tickle, pat, and hug.

My charge, my friend, I declare you my guardian. A short while I anguished over your primal mind and worries, a short while I cared for you, and now I grow older, stronger, wiser for loving you.

You are a satellite, infused with the divinity of Creation. More than a friend, more than a companion, I find you, the beacon of God and I am astounded by the grace with which you diffuse His love with each lapping lick, each cheeky nibble.


Ten feet

10 feet, three bodies, six eyes.

Sniffing noses, up-down, up-down, sniffing noses seek out bits of swept away hay, tiny chompers slowly pull them in. Ears, like satellites, twist and turn to catch the slightest noise, the smallest breathy tremor. Hop, shuffle, run, these tiny feet gain a lot of ground

in a small space

less wonderful than they deserve.

I sometimes let them get close to my face, allergies and all, their slick fur smelling like the stuffed air of the room, yet those silky fibers brush my cheeks with the softest hello, the kindest I love you. I watch them, the two four-footed ones, and I imagine that there cannot be a day when they don’t exist in this world with me. Their hearts, as innocent and as short-lived as the wispy seeds of a dandelion in the spring, touch mine with a permanence I’ll never forget.

The two-footed one…he’s another story. Wrinkle-eyed hazel winks. Walk, pace, sit. His nose sniffs, too, but probably for pizza and beer. He explores the inner worlds of dimensions beyond the screen, his fingers guiding his way through a technological masterpiece. He perks his ears for bits of stories that intrigue him and his heart…oh, his heart. His heart isn’t the dandelion of the others. It’s more of an oak tree. I hope that it lives long, that it only grows taller, that its tender roots envelop me whole and never let me go for as long as the Earth draws breath from the ether. It’s not innocent, he isn’t a child, but the strong beating of it, the persistent search of his heart for truth, it only elongates him until his spindly, unsatisfied brain reaches the heavens.

Ten feet, three hearts, six ears.

He once told me that love is a choice. I didn’t believe him much because no one had ever made that choice in my experience. I told him, love is like that Koolaid stain in the carpet. Sometimes you mistake it for blood when the shadows hit just right, but if you apply enough elbow grease, it’s like it was never there.

I think now, it helps when you’ve got these particular three hearts, but I sometimes need the choice. I pour more koolaid on the carpet, let it seep through to the floorboards beneath, further even, all the way to the foundations of the house until it’s all a part of it. Can’t get it out then, I’ve worked too hard to put it there, strong, and it looks like blood when the light hits it.

I sometimes forget love is a choice when it’s convenient for me. When I’m tired, I can’t imagine getting on my knees and pouring one more time, they ache after all, and I’m tired. I’ve got other things to do than nurture that stain, things that will make me a lot of money in the long run, things that distract me from real-life priorities.

Yeah, I think the two-legged one has a point. Love is a choice, but I’m certainly glad I made the right one.