Friday, June 10, 2005

The Quality of Light

As the light fades and colors deepen, I look out my window at my tree. The squirrels are settling in for the night, climb into their warm nests, and the sky is gray, but the horizon is a luminous white. The edges of the vista blur and the mountains dim and darken, growing larger, a backdrop of rock and trees and stability. The view softens with the coming of night but the tree outside my window is solid and clear and the details are sharply defined. The rain today settles into the cracks in the bark. The tree breathes in the moisture, forcing the alligator skin bark into painstaking relief.

The horizon glows with the sun's descent and the wind picks up rattling loose branches from their connections, twigs and leaves dipping and ripping from their moors and floating to the ground. Darkness closes in and everything right outside the window is delineated and defined.

There is a quality to dusk that blurs the edges of the view as it creeps closer, settling in like a lover's arms in an intimate embrace. Color flees and silhouettes take solid form out of the riot of daylight.


And soon night...

...when the stars flare and fly across the vault of heaven, and the moon's pale silver face lightly blues the darkness.

Fast and dirty

If you're interested in biographies and people, check out The Story of My Life about Farah Ahmedi, a survivor of the Afghan wars.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dinner dates

I finished work early today because I had a date tonight. I needed clean clothes (underwear) and it was time to do the laundry. I was running out of everything and didn't feel like taking the tags off my 10-year-old formal gown. Dinner was not a formal affair tonight.

Downstairs the Psycho was talking to the landlady on the deck in the sunshine. He said hello and I said hi. We're such conversationalists. Then unlocked the door and disappeared into the laundry room. The landlady came through from her massage room to check her towels in the dryer. She told me I didn't have to go back upstairs around the outside of the house; I could go through her apartment. When I came back outside Psycho (the landlady's name for her psychic friend) was working on the cement block retaining wall, the one I had planned to work on Sunday. We talked while he worked, getting to know one another, swapping esoteric views. He's a very intelligent and interesting guy, and he didn't hit me upside the head with the shovel when I offered help and suggestions on fitting the cement blocks together. I'd say that's tolerant.

Psycho and I are about the same height, but I'd say he's probably a tad older. I'd also bet he was a redhead at one point in his life. There are a few cinnamon strands in his beard but the dead giveaway is his green eyes and freckles. Add jeans, blue chambray shirt and a ball cap and you begin to get the picture. There is humor sparkling in his eyes and clearly evident in the crinkles around his eyes and the aura of joy around him.

I had planned to go back upstairs and bring down another load of clothes to wash when the first load was ready to go into the dryer. Didn't work out that way. We ended up sitting on the deck talking about spirituality, definitions of reality, Nostradamus, quantum physics and truth just for a beginning. We also talked about writing and history and people. It could have lasted for days at the rate we were going, but we scratched the surface. It's a beginning.

Psycho needed to discuss something with the landlady and I had to get ready for my date. I didn't want to be late and I still had to fold and put away the dry laundry, get a shower, do something with my hair and get dressed. That would take a good half hour and I didn't want to be late. My date was set for six.

I went back upstairs, laid out the laundry and headed for the shower. When I got out I couldn't find the top I laid out. I still can't find it. I ended up wearing something from the closet (no, not the gown). The phone rang while I was still naked and wet. It was my date wanting to know if I was almost ready. I was.

Downstairs I knocked on the landlady's door and she was ready to go. We were going to walk up to ront Range Barbecue. A light mist drifted through the cool air as we walked toward the restaurant past the park where yesterday groups of older couples were picnicking in the last warm rays of the sun. The carriage driver and Rusty were clip-clopping past us up 24th exchanging small talk and hellos. It was a beautiful evening, cool, soft and perfect.

At the restaurant we settled into a table, ordered drinks and talked until the busboy came up, red-faced, blushing and hesitant. "Would you mind if we moved you?" he asked tremulously.

The landlady and I looked at each other and smiled. "Not at all." We picked up our drinks, he picked up our condiments and led us to a booth with a window seat -- right where I wanted to sit when we got there, but it was already occupied. It was also quieter with no one shouting into their cell phone.

Dinner arrived: hamburger and a tomato, onion, cucumber salad for the landlady and BBQ ribs and brisket with green beans, corn muffins and the same salad for me. She had some kind of honey wheat beer and I had a margarita (no, not the sissy slushy kind) and water, lots of water.

Dinner was good, really good, but the conversation was the best part of the meal. I found out the landlady is a chocoholic -- but I already suspected as much.

After dinner we walked back home past the park in a light drizzle. There was music. A band was playing 40s and 50s music with a bit of swing and jazz and a little burlesque music for the novelty acts. Both of us were dancing to the music and would have stayed but SOMEONE had to go to the bathroom and couldn't hold it. Good thing we were close to home. I unlocked the door and the landlady raced for the bathroom. When she came back (a decidedly relieved look on her face and her eyes no longer swimming) we went out on the porch and listened to the music and talked while Pastor took a bio break.

The sun was hidden behind gray clouds and the light was fading slowly, the neighborhood wrapped in hot horns and brass, pulsing drums, and seductive woodwinds while the saxes wailed. The air was cool and laden with the scents of misty flowers, fresh cut grass and fertile earth. Good food, good company, great conversation and music.

This is living.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Yesterday was a good day. I got money. I spent time with the landlady and Pastor. And I met someone new: Eddie.

Eddie lives in the old Victorian behind us. He has three trucks -- that are out of the garage anyway -- and he is a grizzled fella who always wears faded and worn overalls.

Yesterday he was cutting the grass on his lot when I was backing out of the driveway to go to the movies and see Star Wars. I needed a break. I stopped for a moment as he stood at the whitewashed corral fence that separates his side yard from the alley and introduced myself. He already knew me -- and quite a bit about me.

"I know everything that goes on," he said.

The way his eyes glinted with intelligence and mischief, I had no doubt he was being honest.

He told me he started working as a water meter reader in 1970 and had been in every home within a 30-mile radius not built in the last 11-12 years -- that's when he retired. He knows all the stories and the secrets, not to mention that he knows where all the bodies are buried and which closets have skeletons. He was born and raised just 10 blocks from his house, which he bought about 30 years ago. Eddie is definitely a good source of information if I need to know anything about anyone or the history of the area.

"I remember when [Colorado Springs] was just a cowtown."

I know about cow towns. I was born in Columbus, Ohio, and that's another cowtown -- no matter how many malls and fancy restaurants come and go.

Eddie's front porch is decorated with a trailing string of CDs hanging from the ceiling of the roof. They swing in the winds and cast rainbows everywhere.

"What CDs did you use for your decorations?" I asked him.


I had a feeling.

"I'd go down to the post office, grab a few of them free AOL packets, drill a hot nail thru them and string them together and hang them up," he explained.


"I kept having trouble with birds making nests in the porch light. Someone said as how if I'd hang somethin' shiny they'd stay away. I got me them CDs, hung 'em up and the birds stay away. Works real good." He grinned through the neat silver threads of his mustache and his green eyes glinted. "Probably some other kind of disks up there, but most of 'em's AOL."

The landlady was waiting to back out of the drive and I was blocking the way, so I said goodbye and headed down the alley to 24th.

Slowly but surely I'm getting to know the denizens of my little corner of the Springs. You can tell he knows something from that mischievous glint in his eye. The landlady told me if Eddie likes you you're in. Eddie likes me. I'm in.

So, wth one tree-hating orc wench on the east side, a house full of college age guys and their revolving door girlfriends on the west and Eddie across the alley, I'm beginning to find my footing here -- and it's getting more interesting every day.

Squirrel porn, disappearing woodpeckers,sky diving nuthatches and a Farmer's Market starting this weekend, I really lucked out.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lifting weights

It's hard to see the trees when you're looking at the forest. It's even harder to let someone go when they've been a part of your life for a long time. Sometimes you have to let them go.

A heavy weight has been lifted from my life and it took me a while to understand what it was and why it was. After a long talk with two friends (one old and one new, but very wise), I realize that I was still collecting masks. Not mine. Others' masks.

A mask can be a weighty object, not just for the person who wears it to hide who and what they are, but for the people who care about them and fall into the trap of believing the mask is the truth. A mask can also hide an outer ugliness that obscures the truth of the inner beauty. Masks are distractions, a beautiful, and often flashy, sleight of hand that keeps us from seeing the truth.

To quote Ben from The Truth About Cats & Dogs, "You know how someone beautiful can become more and more ugly as you get to know them and someone you wouldn't even look at twice can become more and more beautiful?"

It is not about the beauty of the words or the face or the smile that appears so genuine, but about those little moments when little by little the adhesive fails and the mask slips to show a glimpse of such darkness and ugliness that you doubt what you have seen. You wrestle with what you think and what you saw, telling yourself it was a trick of the light, but eventually the truth wins out and the mask comes off. A very close friend saw the truth and tried to warn me, but I wasn't listening. He was right. I was wrong. The mask is gone and so is the heavy weight I've struggled with these past months.

Here's to lifting and losing the weight of the mask. I just lost a whole lot of it.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday afternoons are not for headaches

Have I mentioned how truly talented and wonderful my landlady is? She is -- in spades.

I went downstairs on my way to the grocery store to return the bowls from the strawberry dessert and stuffed peppers I took home Saturday night and stayed for a few minutes to talk and sit out on her deck in the glorious sunshine. My arms pinked up quickly and I will have color tonight -- no burn, just color. I tan very quickly.

Anywho, I was rubbing my right temple where lately I get these headaches besides and behind my right eye. She asked if I minded if she played with me. (No, I did not say the first thing that came into my mind.) I said, "Sure," and she started by pinching my right shoulder. She said since I work on the computer I might be tight there. I'm not. Muscular but definitely not tight. She asked if there was any more pain in my head when she pinched my shoulder and I assured her there wasn't. Then she went to work on my right temple and eye.

I felt nice, but nothing was happening -- at first. I closed my eyes and breathed and suddenly the dark red behind my eyes started lightening up and became blue and then lavender and the pain started to dissipate. she did a little energy work on me, telling me there was some brown crap in there and asked if I was angry at someone. Couldn't think of anyone right at first, but later I remembered I was ticked at a certain brother-in-law who is a jerk. She kept working on my head, put her hands on my forehead and the back of my neck, did some more energy work and the tension and pressure beside and behind my right eye started to go away. The light behind my eyelids got brighter and brighter and she said, "Ooh, a rainbow." I'm going to believe that was good news.

Then she got a call from her best friend in Germany and I petted Pastor for a few moments then decided I should sneak out and let her talk in private. By the time I got in the car and belted up, the headache was completely gone. Now, if I can just keep it that way.

I do think it's time I scheduled an appointment with her for a massage and some energy work. After all, what's the use of having a certified neuromuscular therapist in the house if I don't patronize her? Good thing I get paid tomorrow,huh?

And if you live in or near Colorado Springs, let me know and I'll pass your information along.

That is all. Disperse in an orderly fashion.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sunshine glancing off leaves...

...and clouds swimming by overhead, there's nothing better than a brand new day.

The neighborhood is quiet right now. Once in a while kids pass in the street or cars slip quietly down the street between the tree-lined curbs, barely noticed. Cats criss cross the streets and squirrels play tag along the branches, daring even the slenderest twigs bending beneath their scanty weight before diving through the air. Birds and bees dart and dance in the sun dappled shadows and trees wave and nod in the breeze. It's a peaceful Sunday, the kind of day to sit and read with the windows open. I'm half tempted to put on some clothes and go for a walk down to the big park on Uintah, pick out a picnic bench and lean against the table reading my book, which has turned out to be very surprising. You can read about it at The Celebrity Cafe when the review is posted. I'm not going to give you so much as a hint yet.

Yesterday I got my hands dirty pulling dandelions and weeds and planted some nasturtiums and baby's breath. The squirrels got to the sunflowers, but I'm going to get them back. I'm sprinkling cayenne on the sunflowers I'm planting this week. Besides, it's time to put the Xmas ornaments back in their boxes and unearth my seeds from the African carry basket so I can have it ready when the Farmer's market starts next weekend. I usually carry canvas bags, but I thought that would be more fun.

Time for me to get back to the book if I expect to finish in time to post my review by tomorrow morning.

That is all. Disperse.