Friday, December 18, 2015

Foriegner

"Aren't your feet cold?" He asks the first day he sees me. For the first time this week someone is speaking to me in English and instead of Dutch.

I look down at my bare toes, and realize I haven't seen anyone else in this whole town who's wearing sandals. Apparently that's not the thing to do in the Netherlands in the Fall.

"No, not really" I say, smiling and shrugging at him.

His eyebrows knit together in look of disbelief, but he doesn't say anything else - just hands the frites I ordered over the counter of his food truck. It's parked right by the hall our exhibition is in, so I find myself ducking out there almost every day the rest of the trip. 
 
The next day he greets me, "Oh, the girl with the cold feet!"

This time I just smile, feeling the warmth of being known when everything around me is foriegn, "Yes,that's me" I say, smiling, "Can I have some frites? With mayonnaise, please?"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats are punctuation to Utah's mountainous landscape. God hit a hard return here, leaving nothing but blank space between paragraphs. It has so much nowhere and has such a vastness of empty, that the negative space itself begins to hold substance. It's justified as a destination.


We drove out there last weekend, to watch the sunset, see the stars and have what Camilla deemed "a post-apocalyptic picnic." Because the apocalypse would surely leave a landscape as desolate and otherworldly as this one. 

The longer I've lived in Utah, the more I've fallen in love with it. The diversity of landscapes never ceases to astonish me. Within a 200 mile radius of my front door there is red rock, salt flats, the dense forests and lakes of the high Uintas, there are hot springs, and sand dunes and peaks still dusted in snow.

It took us about two hours to get this place, splitting gas costs $9 each. We got to feel the strange coarse texture of salt under bare feet, and star-gazed under of one of the widest skies I've ever seen. I begin thinking back on what I allocate my time to. Two hours of netflix happens easily, two hours through the course of the day on my phone, two hours spent deciding what to wear for a date, two hours procrastinating going on a run.... Days spent in reoccurring patterns, so that tomorrow and today are so much the same that they easily become indistinguishable as yesterdays.

I took a pause there on the flats, took some space of mind. As dark settled, my friend Kyle reminded us that all the planets in the solar system lined up radius to radius still wouldn't bridge the gap from the Earth to the Moon. I'm humbled by that, and humbled at how inconsequential the size of this  plain of salt is in comparison to that distance. I'm humbled by how lengthy a single day can seem, and at the same time humbled by the brevity of a life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Love is....

      ...a mutual work of art.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

As Promised

Today I turned twenty, and the rain finally came.

It's been promising to for days. Clouds heavy with it, hanging over the valley. We've seen it in the mountains - enveloping them in an opaque mist. The sun pulling colors sharply out of such a soft covering.

On Sunday evening, I ran out barefoot on the sidewalk with my brother and his children to see this:
The splayed branches of the walnut tree out front blocked the view from the living room window, but just stepping a little beyond their yard, we could see it. My nephew Leif was held up in his father's arms, his small hand (still rounded by his baby fat) pointing towards the double rainbow.

Today I turned twenty and the rain finally came.

It's been promising to for days. It started like it was a secret, lightly falling as I was biking home at 11pm. Fat drops rolling over my jacket, giving it the same reflective sheen as the puddles pooling on the street. Water soaked through my socks and I could feel the cool touch of it on my thighs as I kept pedaling.

When I got home, I laughed to see our sprinkler system on. The noise of the spray and chik-a-chik-a as the nozzle turned drowned out the soothing patter of rainfall. This system designed to keep our lawns green and picturesquely suburban in defiance of the desert landscape. We get most of our water from snow that accumulates in the mountains. And even that's dry. Feet and feet of snow melt down to a few inches of water in the spring, rushing down waterfalls and stream beds into the valley.  

This rain, and the humidity that's been lingering in the air for days are unfamiliar here. I take a deep breath in, savoring the scent of petrichor. It reminds me where I grew up in Ohio. My father grumbled constantly about overcast skies. And thunderstorms came with the regularity of sun rise and sun set. I was lulled to sleep by the ring of rain rushing down the metal drain pipe outside. I'd wake up during sudden flashes of lightning and count the seconds until I heard the companion clap of thunder.

I turned twenty today and the rain finally came. Instead of going inside and to bed, I took off my shoes and left my helmet on the front stoop and walked out into it.

I feel like twenty is an incredible leap from nineteen. I've had two years of transitioning, while still being justified by that four letter suffix teen. But I turned twenty today and have been confronted with being an adult - whatever that means in a culture that draws out an infinite adolescence. I am an unemployed-college-student, owning neither my own set of cutlery nor my own car. I'd like to feel put-together, secure, confident and dry - but once you're drenched who gives a damn? The rain can keep on falling, it's already done its worst.

I am soaking wet and I let the rain strip away the persona of adulthood too. I leap into the water like I would when I was a kid - just to hear the sound of the splash. It's late and dark, and there's no one out here to see me. No one to see me crouch down to listen more intently to the water singing as it spills out to into a thick stream in the gutter. No one to wonder as I study droplets settling on top of upward facing leaves. There's no one to think I'm crazy as I touch my hand to the sidewalk and then to the street - comparing in my mind the texture of wet concrete and asphalt.

But as I hear a car approaching, it's headlights spilling light across the road, I feel myself tense up. I stand up quickly and pretend to be walking forward. Just as much as I want to feel the rain on my face, I want this stranger passing by to see me as being a twenty year old... as the adult I've been promising to become.