For All Intents and Purposes

When you get home from work, how long does it take you to shake off the day? How long does it take you to make the switch back to your non-performing self?

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I wonder what’s the first thing you do after you kick off your shoes. Elbow the door shut, click the lock closed. How many minutes before you unbutton your shirt and shrug into something soft, something decidedly not dry-clean only.

I wonder when you were last bone-tired. Not how-is-it-only-Tuesday tired, but good tired. Tired from some kind of extended exertion, tired from a smidge too much sun, tired from the monumental effort of packing as much fun as you possibly could into a single day.

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That I can answer easily: yesterday. Yesterday was a far cry from cubicle land.

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It was so nice to get away. Sundays are for adventuring, not for sitting sad. Help me remember this, when I return to feeling frustratingly far from bumpy dirt roads and tree-lined trails. Treats for the top, and flip-flops for the way home.

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Somehow I need to keep getting closer to this kind of a life. With weekends that really feel like weekends. With Saturdays and Sundays that only start in coffee shops.

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I wonder what kind of a life you’re in the midst of moving towards. And whether you’re more or less satisfied with your trajectory, these days, and whether you’ve been feeling pretty patient with your progress. With your pace.

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I wonder what you think about when the going gets tough. When you’re outside and on your feet and doing something just a little bit hard. I wonder whether your brain is actually blissfully quiet, then, and the real question would be what you think about when you slow to a stop. (I wonder what’re the chances you’re like me.)

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I did a good job while we were hiking, before we went to the beach. In the woods, I didn’t think about much of anything outside of how good the breeze felt. And how nice it was not to be lonely, and how simple it was to be happy, and how awesome it was to feel so strong.

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But while wandering water’s edge, on a coast where the smart seek shelter from the wind huddled in down jackets behind boulders with a capital B, I faltered. And forgot, for a particularly rocky stretch, before I remembered.

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It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be soft. It’s okay to be exactly who you say are. It’s okay to say the things you really wished you’d taken 10 minutes to look over, later on. It’s okay to walk around with your heart hanging out of your shirt, for all intents and purposes. It’s okay to say: here is a bouquet of clumsy words, none of them quite right.

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“The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

“I want love to be simple. I want to trust without thinking. I want to be generous with my affection. I want to love the whole person, not parts, and this is how I want to be loved.” -Jewel Kilcher

“You deserve good things, and I want to be one of them.” -Ellen Hopkins

“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets us find those hidden places in another person, even the ones we didn’t know were there, even the ones we wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful ourselves.” -Hilary J. Smith

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“I think it’s the bravest thing in the world — to run straight at love, even knowing how badly you could get hurt.” -Emery Lord

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“May something comfort you — a mockingbird, a breeze, rain on the roof, Chopin’s Nocturnes, or even me — in my chilly kitchen with my coat on — thinking of you.” -Ellen Bass

“When night comes, something speaks from that soft, fragrant wilderness. It says, the heart is not a door. But it opens. We feel in the dark for the hinge.” -Carole Glasser Langille

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen

“I can’t think of anything but nights with you. I want them warm and silvery.” -Zelda Fitzgerald, in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (May 1919)

“The things I find most beautiful about a person are almost never physical.” -Mark Patterson

“At the door, there was one of those moments when two people realize that they like each other more than they know each other. This is nicer than the opposite situation, but more awkward. You try to remember the protocol for touching. You hate to gush, or presume too much, yet you are unwilling to let the moment pass without some sort of gesture.” -Emma Donoghue

“I wanted it so much. I don’t know why I wanted it so much.” -Ernest Hemingway

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“I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Without love, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.” -Cheryl Strayed

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