Dec 15 2010

five minutes.
{reverb10 – day 15}


Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes.
Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most
want to remember about 2010.

I feel like I did exactly that in the way I answered the wisdom prompt.
But here is today’s five minute synopsis.


I fell in love. With a kitten.

I felt the sun on my face as sweat poured off my body,
taking stress and frustration with it.

I spent a weekend giggling in the Thousand islands,
most notably when my niece dropped her glasses
in the toilet.

I held my husband’s hand many times.

I whispered my secrets to the moon.

I got rained on, a lot, but I did not melt.

I sat in my garden once and wrote about everything
directly in front of me. It was life.

I gave out a lot of hugs. This is new,
I never used to be a hugger.

I started two blogs. I wrote every day.
Every day.

I counseled my children. Sometimes they listened,
sometimes they did not.

I spent time at the hospital with my mom. She spent
most of her time asking questions of her caretakers,
remembering the names of their children.

I stopped my car by the side of the road,
more than once, to take pictures.

I drove for two hours to find the base of a windmill.
It was like finding the end of the rainbow.

Then I fell in love again, with the other kitten.

And it all went by in exactly five minutes.

{reverb10} check it out here

Sep 16 2010

good windmill hunting

Okay, I have a confession to make: I am in love.

With windmills.

And yes, I know that technically these are wind turbines, and technically a lot of people strongly dislike them. But love isn’t technical, it knows no boundaries, it isn’t rational or logical or afraid to be itself just because some other people don’t like it. So there you have it. I am in love. I want one. In my backyard. And yes, I am aware that my neighbors may not go along with that.

I live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, a beautiful, hilly area dotted with small lakes and fabulous vistas and acres and acres of farmland.

And recently, along the route to our cabin that just happens to be nestled up in those hills, a new crop has popped up. A crop of giant sentinels. And the very first time I saw them there, perched along the horizon, I was hooked. It was love at first sight. I drove over the crest of hill and there they were, spinning slowly, towering over the small town that up until then had been known for its grape pies. Now, at least for me, there is a much bigger attraction.

I have been to our cabin several times since that day, and each time have had the sudden urge to veer off the road and head towards these turning towers, wanting to stand beneath one and see just how tall it really is, what kind of sound it makes, to just be near it. You know, that love thing.

So over Labor Day Weekend, I had a ton of work to do. I know, you’re supposed to relax on Labor Day, but that wasn’t going to be possible for me. My family made a plan to go to our cabin that Sunday night, and I agreed to take a few hours off and meet them there for dinner. And then I made a plan to leave an hour early and go on a quest, to finally find the road that the windmills were on. To meet them, face to face.

Easier said than done.

I tried to look up the information beforehand, but I couldn’t really pinpoint the location. The area they are in is very rural, dirt roads, some labeled, some not, and I had no idea what the name of the road they are on is called, but I figured, how hard could it be? They’re tall, right? I’ll just follow them.

And of course I got lost because these are small mountains after all, and there aren’t that many roads that cut directly across and I had to wind up and down and down and around and backtrack and traverse seasonal-use-only, very bumpy, dirt roads, and they look a lot closer than they actually are because, oh my, they ARE huge, and an hour and a half later, I was finally on the right road, which I only knew because I could see one at the top of the hill just before me. At this point I was already half an hour late for dinner with my family, and not sure how far out of my way I had traveled, but I had my eye on the prize and no way was I turning back now.

I passed these on the way up that hill:

And I discovered, later, that none of these photos give you a sense of the scale, the majestic quality, the space and height and mystery, or the tears that were in my eyes. Silly to mist up over windmills, I know. Just call me sentimental. Or weird. Either one works for me.

That is corn growing there, just beneath them, corn that stood higher than my head.

And when I reached the top of that hill, they were spread out before me for miles, dotting fields of corn and meadows filled with clover and perched at the crests of hills. 20 or 30 or 40 all told. And the one I had seen from the bottom of the hill had a little dirt road leading right up to it. So I parked my car and I rolled down the windows and I listened, because I had expected them to be loud. But I could barely hear them at all.

And then I got out of my car and stood there, and I felt peace. That’s what it is, that is the draw. They make me feel peaceful. I walked my way closer and closer and I’m sure that my mouth was hanging wide open just then, although I was lucky and no flies flew in.

And then I was there right at the base of the one I had been chasing for miles and I could walk right up and touch it, and I could take all the pictures I wanted, although still, none of them convey how tall it really is.

And then, of course, just when I was having a moment, standing there staring up at the sky, my phone rang and it was my family saying, “where are you? we are waiting on you for dinner,” and I had to say goodbye my new friends, I had to walk away and leave them there to guard the valley, alone.

But one day soon I’m going back, and next time I’m bringing a picnic and I’m not going to answer my phone and I’m going to sit there on a blanket and listen as the wind whispers down through those blades.

And I might even sing to myself, a little.

But this time, I’ll try not to cry.

Jun 2 2010

in the out house

I went to our camp this past weekend, just for an evening. My husband and son went for the long weekend, but I can’t do that, there is mold and mildew and I am allergic, and anyway I can’t take three days off work just now. So I drove up there Saturday, late afternoon, a perfectly perfect day, just the right temperature, not a cloud in the sky, and the drive along the lake between here and there is always beautiful. On this day, the water was the darkest of teal, all dotted with tiny white sailboats.

I keep forgetting the windmills, built two summers ago, although I guess they are actually turbines, all stark and white and metal-looking but still, stunning. And along this drive there is a spot where you come down a big hill into a small town, and ten of these windmills are perched at the top of the next hill over. It is a very hilly place. And it’s a sight to behold, takes my breath away, really, the way they stand there like sentinels watching over the valley.

I should have stopped to take pictures, but the road was busy and my dog was panting, freaking out because he hates hates hates riding in the car and we were 30 minutes into a 45 minute drive. So I drove on by without taking pictures, but one day, soon, I will go back. And when I got to our camp I said to my husband, “I want a windmill, can we get one?” and of course, he just laughed, thinking I was kidding, but really, I want a windmill.

And then I sat down and listened to the wind in the trees, poplars and pine, that wonderful sound, and I watched the poplar leaves dance back and forth. I thought of the trees that have fallen, these poplars that are dying one by one, two of them have landed on the cabin. And this is where we got married, on the bridge that crossed the stream, but now that has fallen, too.

And I thought of our dog, the other dog, the one that died three years ago now, how camp was always his favorite place and we took him there the weekend before he died, even though the weekend before that he didn’t want to go, could barely move as the kids and my husband packed up to leave. But that next weekend we took him, not knowing it was his last weekend. And when it was dark, we went for the walk that we always walk, and we stopped in the spot where we always stop and we listened for the splash in the neighbor’s pond that we always knew was coming. That weekend, it was like he was a puppy again.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I was crying, not just misty- eyed but balling, missing all these things that are gone. So I went to the outhouse to collect myself and dry my eyes. The photo above shows what I saw facing out through the doorway of a door that no longer closes. Still life with outhouse, framed. (It faces into our woods, privacy isn’t an issue, and I went back, afterwards, to take the picture, in case you were wondering.)

Later, as I was leaving, to drive home to care for these cats and to sleep in my bed, I walked out to the road and saw the Milky Way, perfectly perfect, every star in the sky visible. And then as I drove I watched the moon rise, just beyond a long stretch of farm. It was huge and orange, tucked behind wispy clouds, more harvest moon than end of May moon. And again, I wanted to stop for a picture, it was that incredible, that memorable, but again, I had my dog in the back and his panting had risen beyond frantic, so I kept driving. And then I was home.

But in that short span of time, just six hours,

I saw a lifetime of fabulous views.