Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taken By

A phrase was said the other day, reminding me how much I love the words, "taken with" or "taken by" ... as in, "He was quite taken by her" or, "She was taken with him."

There are many old phrases I adore, but those words have always caused a strange feeling inside me whenever I've heard them uttered. Maybe it's because I love the idea that a person can, indeed, be "taken" by something or someone; a moment, a touch, a kiss, a look. Maybe it's also the raw, genuine vulnerability implied by the notion that a part of you can be taken at all; that someone could have that affect on you, without even trying. And that, after it happens, you're not quite sure what has changed, only that something has indefinitely been altered inside you. It's almost a slight shifting feeling, a piece of you gone somehow ... whisked away by something or someone else. Perhaps that's why the words have always stirred something in me. Maybe that's why I've always gravitated toward them, just as I gravitate toward most things or people who move me, get inside me, ignite me somehow.

I suppose there is a slightly more doleful side to the notion of being "taken by" someone ... the idea that once you're taken with someone or something, you're never quite the same again. And it could very well be nothing more than a fleeting feeling you have that passes by as you move on to something else. Or, it could affect a deep part of you, causing you to lose yourself for a time being.

I also came across this quote the other day: "A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away." ~ Eva Logue

For me, in the times I've experienced this "taken" feeling, I've felt as though I'm a flower of some sort, a rose perhaps, leaving soft petals the color of warmth at the feet of the things and people I've been "taken by" over the years. Or, like the above quote, perhaps a burnished candle, giving off warmth while softly melting away.

It's not a bad feeling, though I suppose as the years continue to pass by, there will be some moments of forlorn in the looking back. But in general, I like the idea and feeling of "being taken," whether by a moment, a person, a glimpse, a scent ... life. And I'd rather be taken by it all, quietly giving myself away, than remain a rose caged by untouchable glass; a white, wax coated wick --

That is never lit.


Friday, December 16, 2011


"Hello Olive, How are you? Thought I would send you a postal to let you know I think of you once in awhile ... are you coming to the picnic Thursday? I may go for a little while in the afternoon, but will have to work in the forenoon. Don't forget to write." ~ Jina Perry

It's one of those nights, where everything outside of my walls doesn't feel right and so I find myself at home tonight, glass of Bordeaux red breathing nostalgia down my neck and the ink and paper, so to speak, before me. The above passage I found on the back of an old post card from an antique shop in Chardon a few weeks ago. Something about it stayed with me. My favorite part, "I thought I would send you a postal to let you know I think of you." Well, that and the use of "forenoon." I can't tell when the post card dates back to, but it was definitely written by an ink dipping fountain pen. You can see where she runs out and boldly comes back ...

The front of the card, yellowed along the edges, shows a couple, her arm intertwined with his as he stares at her lovingly, adoringly ... and she melts, melting him right back. The bottom reads: May your troubles be little ones.

The post card got me thinking about that time period in general, when instead of an email or text, you would buy something with a picture on it that conveyed what you felt as you took your personal touch, the detailed curves of your unique penmanship and ... just wrote. There is something to be said about old fashioned writing and the personal nuances it leaves behind in its wake; whether it's a postcard or letter, perhaps even just a piece of paper you wrote on to give to another for something seemingly mundane. Depending on who it's from ... sometimes, I bring it softly to my nose and breathe it in, catching a hint of that person's scent. Sometimes, if that's all I have, I commit it to memory for the harder days.

This postcard felt like it was casual, yet intimate in the subtlest way ... like a meaningful look passed between two people. It made me muse about who this woman was, who Olive was and what their respective stories unfolded into. It made me wish I could disappear for a day and go back to that time period to find out. And ... it made me long for that feeling again. The one where, a simple letter, note or postcard, a text, an email, a message ... the mention of a person's name, gives you butterflies. And when those butterflies come to fruition, spreading warmth throughout your entire body from the love you feel for that person. For me, unfortunately, it has oftentimes ended in heartbreak. But in general, it's what I live for ... and yes, while it only merely starts out as butterflies, it has the capability of transforming into other amazing things, and those are the things I crave -- though hopefully one day without the heartbreak.

I imagined this Perry woman sending that postcard and waiting, fervidly, for Olive's response. Would he say he thinks of her, too? Would he reject her and just be polite about it? Perhaps they are merely friends and nothing more. Perhaps it is unrequited and she was a fool to believe otherwise. Regardless, it's fun to speculate. Before technology, it's hard to fathom waiting for a response from someone from the mail ... or from a messenger on a horse or carriage for that matter. I can't handle waiting a day, my body and mind assail me, let alone days or weeks. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for anticipation and hope. Both of which, I'm struggling to hold onto ... but both of which are vital for me to survive and go on. One is the drive, the other, the force behind it -- the light at the end of the tunnel.

Did Jina find her light? I hope so. I feel in the dark right now ... alone with the things in my heart, feeling my way around. But underneath my closed eyelids, I can sense the light somewhere. It'll find me one day, too.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I've always been in love with music, using it as a means of channeling for most of my life; whether in the instruments I play or just simply the music I listen to. My friend, Claire, introduced me to this artist the other night and she's stayed with me since. While I'll continue my photograph/story writing challenges, I've decided to try writing poems to songs and what they make me feel.

Agnes ... you're the first.

Close Watch, by Agnes Obel


Curled up on a stone bench, clutching a rough stone
Hands cold, blood hot, the salt of tears stiff on her skin
Breath icy, misty against the stars, sparkling against the snow
The silvery sheen of the doleful moon, coats her skin

A faint beating inside, donned with thorns, many old ... some new
Squeezing her hand tighter, the stone digs into her palm
Nerve endings breathe soft pangs up her arm
People shuffle past, crunching salt, white noise, unaware

She pulls the stone into her cheek, laying her face upon it
Heart pulses stronger, thorns press against her chest
Snowflakes descend, playing against closed eyelashes
Shadows hovering, cloaking, her blood still hot ... she waits



Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Soundtrack II

As I sat in front of my piano Saturday afternoon, staring at the long ivory keys beckoning to intertwine with my insides, I struggled with what felt right to play. My fingers were heavy against the cool keys. At first, I played my usual mix of music — Fur Elise, Piano Concerto in A minor, Scheherazade, Romeo and Juliet ... but none of them satisfied. So I opened my Pride & Prejudice sheet music to this song. Simple in some ways, yet beautifully haunting ... and utterly cathartic. It was the release I needed and has been playing inside me all day:

 Darcy's Letter

~ C ~

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Water Drops on Glass

"Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the surface of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise." ~ Annie Dillard

I was crouched down, turning my face to the left and leaning my cheek against my forearm as I looked at the clouded glass of my shower door the other night. The warped pane of glass was steamed up, the shower head was spouting thousands of hot water drops against my back and shoulders, producing that meditative white noise I constantly crave. My anxious mind, a continuous myriad of thoughts, is often a runaway train; yet when I'm there, it's as though the entire world around me is shut out and I'm reverent, if only for a moment. This time, I became fixated on the glass, I felt myself drawn to it somehow, as though in a trance. More specifically, my eyes locked onto the rain drops trailing from the top of the glass door to the bottom, leaving hundreds of watery, vertical streams in their wake. 

Each drop rolled down at its own pace; some, languidly slithering along the bumps in the glass while others scurried past them, fervidly moving from side to side, as though maneuvering through an invisible labyrinth. I remember just staring at them, transfixed by their diversity from one another. I remember tilting my head with slight curiosity as to what made one drop fall with such velocity while the one following directly in its path started and stopped and eventually changed direction altogether to create a completely different streak. I began to imagine the raindrops as individual lifelines, individual people and their respective paths. No one's is exactly the same, yet they're all headed in the same direction, to the same eventual end or, depending on your beliefs, the same threshold of transition.

It got me thinking about how much I've been looking to everyone around me, to their paths for direction, because maybe they're farther along than I am, or are perceived to be father along. I'd find myself wondering what I could be doing better, what I'm doing wrong; thinking, "one of them must have the answer or know the secret to happiness."

But as I hugged my knees and I homed in on each water drop as it fell, it quickly occurred to me that I could not focus on all of them at once. They were constantly streaming down the glass in every direction, at every pace, forcing me to refocus and look at the entire landscape before me, forcing me to see the bigger picture, just as Annie Dillard describes above. The "right" questions were no longer the above ones, about trying to find my own path in the paths of others. It was about recognizing that even those who begin on the same trail, or those who look to others for guidance, eventually deviate onto new ground and carve out their own channel in life. Some move more quickly than others, some gain far less in rushed movement than those who take their time, and some lose out when not seizing a moment. Regardless, we're all headed in the same direction and we all carve our own, unique paths to get there.

So, as I looked at the glass in front of me, my sight expanded. And instead of watching every drop's path -- just as I've been watching the paths of those people all around me and closest to me, searching for direction, for answers, for the "right" way -- I looked at the entire tapestry before me ...

It was life, in all its magnificent, complex beauty, and it was represented in one of the simplest forms possible.

Water drops on glass.

~ C ~