“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami
The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
― Tahereh Mafi
Hello my Valentines, hope Tuesday was all it should have been for all of you. I am not and never have been a fan of this day (except for the chocolate – that’s the best) but 2017 is all about being different. I might have to learn to love love after all. So happy wishes to all from a brand new romantic. May you all roar.
Know this space isn’t for politics but be warned it’s going to come up for certain for me. Since I was a small girl, life has been about your stories, my stories, our stories. I think of my friend village as a collective of experiences and lifestyles. That’s going to open the door to sharing that in this space too as that rainbow is under some dark clouds.
Stay the course. It will always get back to the lions, the cows and all the places they live.
Life under the gun metal gray sky of January in my cow town always has been a bit soul crushing so headed south to see my Cuban family and the sun for a few days. Nothing warms the heart like a few days with all of them, doesn’t hurt that vitamin D shines down from the sky.
Here comes the politics. Scroll down if you want to skip it.
It’s hard to be a child of a political refugee that has at the same time never known a day of worry. If that was what my father wanted for his American girls, he got it. Leaving his beloved island for a new life in the land of the free, he guaranteed us, my sister and I, the chance to get all the way to middle age (almost) in safety and prosperity. That dream of his seems under attack. One side claiming victory for this and the other fighting like hell to expose that victory for all the misses and vulnerabilities. It’s complicated these days.
The loop that plays in my head is what if after being willing to give up everything, my father arrived at Miami Airport, where my plane will land in just a bit, and was sent back. My heart actually aches. I love my country, all of the faults and all of the amazing things that make us a resilient people but I am saddened at the direction immigration has taken these past weeks. I won’t get started on how I feel about being a woman. I do believe all lives matter but the reason that some need to cry from the rooftops that theirs do a bit more these days is that they feel they don’t, not at all. Not mention the wolves, the trees. It’s a strange and hard time.
So. Sunshine. Cafe con leche. Being with my family can heal any hurt. The fierce and passionate love of a Cuban, even this Cuban American, shines as brightly as a day in July.
Meanwhile…. plans firm for a return to East Africa. It’s a problem to leave one’s heart behind in a far away land. Love is not predictable. After years of joking around about it and having Cinderella style dreams about going to the life love ball, as cheesy as that may sound, I find myself at a life crossroads, one glass slipper in my hand and a real live prince out there with one in his. No one is more surprised than me. We will see what the fortunes hold for us. Faith and the ability to suspend my disbelief has never been more important.
Happiest of New Year’s wishes to all.
2016: I promised stories. I promised pictures. I promised much. Unfortunately, I am not the best at sitting down and writing. I had a great year of travels to Martinique, Canada and my amazing and special time in East Africa this fall – as deeply in love with that land as ever.
2017: As always on Jan 1, I am feeling the pressure for something to appear here. Something meaningful, insightful to inspire and engage my ten regular readers (up from my four!!). Maybe a travel life blog wasn’t my best idea after all. Stay with me though. Perhaps this will be the year.
Here’s the deal. I am not a supporter of new year’s resolutions – I prefer intentions. So many intentions this year but really just one. My intention is to be kinder – to myself, to my body, to my people, my co-workers, to strangers.
Our world is on fire and certainly in the USA, it’s been a rocky fall. For me, despite some knocks, I am solid, I just need to do some rebuilding and some renovations on this house of mine.
So…. I started this year at yoga. They say you should do on day one of the year what you want to do all year. I want to be the person I am five minutes after class. I want to feel strong and relaxed. If I can hold on to this, I can handle the storm that swirls around my house, calmly and I hope kindly. There’s a bit more at stake this year for reasons I will share as I go along (I am 100% fine, just reasons, people).
A large part of 2017 is going to be showing up. I am showing up this year. I’m going to give it my best shot.
I was rushing to work that horrible day, September 11, 2001, trapped in the normal Boston traffic listening to NPR. I knew I was late because it switched over to the BBC broadcast at nine am. I heard the news of the first tower falling in an English accent. It took me a moment to realize this wasn’t happening in a far away land but here in the USA, blocks from where my sister worked, in a city filled with my people, my buildings and streets I knew well. Not to mention, working for a tour operator, airplane travel was my day job.
And so began the first endless day. That would be followed by weeks of the same.
People know where they were when JFK was shot. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain’s death was announced, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and then the planes hit those towers. The historical moments that transform generations, that rewrite history.
This morning it started out windy and raining, so unlike that morning fifteen years ago. That day dawned as one of the most perfect late summer, almost fall days. The kind of day that makes people fall in love with the Northeast USA.
This afternoon, the sun broke out and I took this glorious picture of my cow town and one of my favorite views. I went to a loving kindness meditation session (we can talk about that another time). Fifteen years of wisdom tells that the lesson to take forward and think about today is that people are truly good. In adversity and sorrow, they show you how triumphant and solid their spirits are indeed. Trouble will find us all, in so many forms, but no matter what, the skies do always clear. It’s going to rain again, but today, blue sky. Nothing but blue healing sky.
The world churns madly on.
Yesterday, I went sailing. The wind was just puffy enough on our little bay. The sun was shining. It was perfection. The sun said goodnight in a blaze of orange goodness.
Except every year I forget that the sailing part can only follow the contortionist upside down yoga rigging the boat time, various bumps and bruises time and a required period of coordination that I never even have on land.
This past year has been a bit like that. Gorgeous peaceful bliss can only be earned by time proverbially banging my head and balancing upside down.
Today is my birthday. It’s been a triumphant twelve months round the sun but it’s also been horrible – not planning to candy coat it. Being in your forties is humbling. I have gotten so much better at so many practical things (please read that as it was implied, I am definitely more mindful and not an owner of a whole plantation of bananas, maybe I own just a small plot these days) but life never does let up.
Here is the great news – there are beautiful sunsets to start the next year right, I actually can balance upside down on a bobbing boat (in life and on the water) and I made it – heart healed, tougher, smarter and well, you get it.