fifty shades of blue.

Mostly it ends in the usual way. Hunkering down in flannel contemplating the day's events. I should be sleeping. Instead, I sort through every shade of blue, until the misty indigo turns a soft shade of gray. the midnight morning is a misty hue and cornflower dark of late afternoon best suits my mood. It's been a long day. a good day. A come-to-Jesus, slap-my-face-and-get-with-it finally kind of day.

A day where fifty shades of blue barged through my door and flung their tattered overstuffed bags across my heart. it made my heart lose its color and shape. made it float away, just for a while. there in the silence I ticked down my list. whispering quiet about it goes on. Maybe I'll never get used to the grip it has on my heart. Maybe this is just the way it's going to be. Maybe this unexpected icky in the pit of my stomach feeling that just zings me out of nowhere is my new normal.

I've set this time aside. hoping the stirrings are fewer and far between. I've felt quiet on the inside.  I'm trying to start new things, but honestly, not much is happening. The sand is falling.  softly. the hour glass has tipped.  Why do I always put pressure on myself? Lately, all I want is to stay home every. single. day. I've become a homebody through and through.  I love nothing more than to putz around the house or garden. My idea of bliss is a cup of tea and a snuggle date with the puppies on the couch.  I'm simple. truthfully in the past year it has gotten worse. Not by choice, just by chance. I live far it seems from everything. everything my heart wants. I like my journey to end at the ocean when I gallivant, and that's just not always possible.  So instead I hibernate. It kind of gets to me after awhile, and I get major cabin fever and have to get out of the house.  

It's no secret I would inevitably be the first person kicked off of Survivor.  I'm not exactly the sleepontheground outdoorsy type, primarily because I hate to sweat, hate bugs, hate being too hot/cold...need food, soft place to sleep, hot showers, etc...  BUT I love being surrounded by Nature. I've become a little addicted.  I get that high.  You know the high that comes from taking it all in. It's an awesome feeling. I'm always on the hunt for new places to go. taking heart thumpin'...kickin' it photos.

What should theoretically be one of the more benign, peaceful times of the year, is now typically the one that is most fraught with drama. Here's the thing - I know that I might, at times, veer dangerously close to painting the picture that life around here is all June Clever in a frilly apron. That it's all glitter, no glue. It's dinners that appear with the snap of a finger and magically clean up after themselves. It's sparkly windows and puppies who never pee on the carpet. I wrap it up and move on. Truth is, I start off all fidgety about smooth rows, but one-by-one, caution gets thrown to the wind. I fight my inborn urge to over-think everything. It's just the nature of this beast. I'm awesome at planning. execution? not so much. Also, I'm prone to over-committing and not giving myself ample time to prepare or finish.

I fly by the seat of my pants darling. That's just the way I roll.

The reality is, there's quite a bit of angst up in my hood on a daily basis. and. I kinda like it that way. Joy, laughter and occasional head-scratching has taken a front seat in my life and has totally amped up my world. I am ever thankful for each moment. Every day is humbling and illuminating, and as it gets more difficult to keep up, I try to remember that I will appreciate it all to the gauzy January moon and back. Still, I don't have it all together. I have never tried to give the impression that my life is perfect, because it's not. Sometimes I lie awake until 3 a.m. avoiding my thoughts with the words of others. I call my best friend while sobbing into my sleeve. I don't have the right things to say, most of the time. I avoid uncomfortable situations, smile and nod when I'm in one, hoping it will pass quickly with the least bit of malaise. I lie about how I'm feeling. too much. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a reason to smile, sometimes I can't stop laughing. This is not sad or  heartbroken. This is real life. This is growing up but never quite getting there. This is falling apart and coming together and falling apart all over again. This is finding a way through the hard moments and rejoicing in the soft ones.

 But most days, most days I prefer to search for the fine strand of gilded happy and grab hold. look it in the eyes. even though some days, that strand is hopelessly lost in the laundry heap. That lilt is hidden somewhere between the whites and the delicates. the pile of bills. the dust bunnies and the sassy talk.

On days like today, I grab my definition of happy like a big lump of clay, and I squish it and stretch it until it fits my world. Thank heavens, happy sometimes means left over Christmas cookies for breakfast while wearing my easy britches and dancing shoes. Still, (I know, right!) listening to sappy Christmas songs where my eyes fill, twice...... "I'll be fine and d-a-n-d-y, Lord it's like a hard candy Christmas, lalalala..."  It is official - God has melted me this past year. There are no two ways about it - I am the girl who cries now over the sight of a hat that has a permanent spot on a peg in my mudroom. I'm the girl who cries over memories so beautiful they remain intact all these years. yep, that's right. I'm that girl. The one who cries.

There's no good reason why today felt so bright. so beautiful. It was dreary and drippy outside. freezing. and I did lots of chores. all the lights were turned on and my dim, dusty heart got a break from itself. I wish I could tell you that I always choose to feel this way, but I don't. In the past year I spent far too much time wallowing and feeling tired. I wasted too many heartbeats feeling like a martyr or being lost in a fog of sadness. But today? Today I walked in the snow. and on one of the hundreds of steps, amid the wasted, washed-up foliage that hasn't made my knees weak in weeks, I saw a leaf that reminded me of exactly who I want to be. It was full-on crimson at its core and the red bled out to the edges. I want my heart to beat so true that there's no other option but for it to bleed out to the rest of me, to paint my pale places bright. This is how the Universe spoke to me today. It wasn't "shout it from the mountains", not today. Today it was one little leaf that I bent low and plucked up. I'm thankful today that I was looking.

last year was a full year, good and hard and ridiculous and beautiful. I grew up a little more, often without enthusiasm or consent, and I saw how grace and tenacity could hitch my heart together with those I love.

The fierceness of my love usually melts the blues away, but if it doesn't, I know now that...

sometimes you just gotta go with it.
(Happy Birthday Daddy)

Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Avocado, and Almonds
(go here for recipe)


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