For all that is said about how connectivity via the Internet can be a path to real-life loneliness, for as much as I love sliding open the narrow, wooden drawer that contains my letter writing supplies, in 1996 I was handed a gift: my first email address. They called it Eudora.
Eudora was clunky and eventually I transitioned to a version of Hotmail that bears little resemblance to the app I use today on my iPod Touch. (ring, ring. 1996 is calling, it says: an i-WHAT?) (blip, bloop. hey, 2013 texted. It said: surrender your antiquated email client!)
Things happened. And things happened. I grew into a “full-fledged adult” and I rolled my eyes and said: what’s this you say about a face book? I’m not in college anymore. I don’t want to be found. No thanks.
And things happened some more. I carefully ignored then fell victim to numerous web-based communication forms. I hoed my new digital world with a plastic rake.
One day I glanced up and realized the sheer number of people with whom I would no longer have contact without the advent of curious computer languages, (with their funny “<” and “;”), that somehow keep me better informed of new babies, passed on grandmothers, and the hilarious antics cats get up to, than a telephone ever did.
So thank you Internets for round-about bringing our friend, professional photographer Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography, to our door, all the way from Denver, Colorado. We shot some awesome pictures in the real-life world, though statistically the three of us were more likely to be separate and lonesome in our homes, serenading our computer mice clickety-clack while bench-pressing bottles of Dr. Pepper.
Also, thank you cats.
Annually since we’ve lived in Jamaica Plain, my partner and I have enjoyed taking part in the JP Spring Roll bike ride organized by our local culture and advocacy group, JP Bikes.
This year, it rained pre-ride so a lot of folks didn’t come out. David and I had the curious experience of being outnumbered by family groups, toting or accompanied by little ‘uns.
We stood out: kidless in the community bike parade. I was also without a bike bell with which to ring in cheers from spectators along the route. Next year I will have to address one of those issues! ;^) (And by that I mean, the bell.)
On my morning bike commute to work, I’ve noticed that my mind tends to operate in several modes. Usually: Morning Mind God of Destruction and Morning Mind Gratitude.
Morning Mind God of Destruction, as you can imagine, sounds something like this: Use your blinker! WHAT is WRONG with you? I can’t believe that other cyclist just did that -he’s definitely not long for this world. LMA buses are the worst. What am I doing with my life? The best thing about today will be when I can finally go back to bed. I will STARE you into submission! Hungry already.
Morning Mind Gratitude: Riding my bike through the woods every day, in a city, is magical. Hi. Hi! I love when drivers wave at me. It feels so satisfying to know what projects I’ll be tackling at work today. I wonder what’s for lunch. Should I stop at Whole Foods for some kombucha? I’m so lucky. I really should learn a blessing to direct at irate drivers so I can check that goal off my list. Hey, there’s that singing cyclist again!
What forms do your morning minds take?
I appreciate how, when taking part in something annually, you can be awarded opportunities to meet that activity/event anew.
This year, we watched the Wake Up the Earth parade from what we thought was the middle of the route (later, we learned differently.) My partner sipped his coffee and I fiddled with my camera, trying to appear invisible to an intensely compelling group of children-on-stilts and their cheerful parents. The tall crew had gathered and were waiting to join the parade from the end of Paul Gore Street, right in front of the Connelly Branch of the Boston Public Library.
We heard the drums first. Then the kids, most of whom had been walking in place so as to be prepared to join mid-stride, struck out.
My partner and I didn’t see it, but apparently this was repeated further along the route as three separate parades -each originating from and representing different neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury– merged into one then continued together down Lamartine Street, landing finally at the festival.
I am not a farmer. Barely a keeper of house plants, but I’ve heard some things and I’ve read other things about letting a field go fallow. Or planting a cover crop of rye or clover. Whatever the process and the terms, the analogy of letting lay to inspire a future season of fertility -if one is feeling generous- is a suitable fit for what happened to the postcards I send out annually in celebration of National Poetry Month.
They are in a fallow field. That field being my mind.
You see, for possibly a decade, I’ve mailed poem postcards to family, friends, and folks I’m cultivating for friendship. I call them poemcards. I started small -a few poemcards in the month of April, containing a short poem and the inscription: Happy Nat’l Poetry Month! xoxPhoebe. Every year I added more addresses, scoured anthologies, until finally I was stretching to send out nearly forty postcards in a month. Handwritten or cut-n-paste, it took a lot of effort.
This year: nada. The desire was more a soft wind; every time I turned my head, it was gone. Between the busyness of work and life, Ladies Rock Camp Boston, and a slow recovery from winter, the seeds of my annual celebration drowned.
So. A lament, then a hope for next year. In the meantime: