take a right at the tree
with a bend at the elbow
don’t forget to lower your head
for the branch that swings west
you’ll find a path paved
with the crimson of iron
it will lead to a crawl space
that expands with new breath
All readiness aside
It’s raining in LA today. And by rain, I mean downpour.
I’d planned to run all my errands for the week today. I checked the weather—drizzle and rain all day. Immigrating from a country with a monsoon season, I never take “rain” in LA seriously. I grabbed a long coat, threw on some waterproof boots, and stepped out.
A light drizzle pranced on the top of my head—little taps of soft chills cooling me through the warmth of my coat. By the time I stepped out of a shop, it was pouring. I had no hood, no hat, no umbrella. I couldn’t help but laugh—almost maniacally, my cheeks puffing under my mask, catching large droplets from the sky.
Chunks of mud creeped in between the crevices of the soles of my boots. Determined to shake most of it off before I got to my building, I stomped in shallow puddles, and what initially seemed like a chore became a determined frolic in downpour with the city.
As rain soaked the wool of my coat, I was transported back to my childhood, with not a worry for runny makeup nor unkempt hair, nor for delicate papers that would smudge and curl, nor for a scolding from my mother. Rain has a way of doing that—washing away what we have, whether or not we hold tight to them. Today was a good day to let go.
Down the rabbit hole
When you catch yourself in a spacey state, can you recall your last complete thought?
I caught myself adrift, in an out-of-focus glance in the direction of the plants on my table. Suddenly, I remembered a mentor of mine. His name popped up at the edge of my consciousness, like some sort of welcome intrusion, and I felt the urge to call him. His number was disconnected. I decided I would look him up. I felt a rush of anxiety, unsure but anticipatory.
He passed away last November. The last time I’d seen him was with my now ex-partner. A history buff, we brought him a book from a museum we last visited. He served us the most balanced lemon cookies.
Rest in power, Dr. G. I’ll catch you down the rabbit hole.
Quiet repairs in liminal spaces
We’re well into December, and the end of 2020 is approaching, with both the Winter Solstice and the Great Conjunction occurring today.
These days, I often find myself sitting in liminal spaces. For me, it’s that space between knowing and uncertainty, action and rest. This year, as I’m sure many can relate, has challenged our ability to sit still in our own respective liminal spaces.
I feel like I do a pretty good job of staying in the present long enough to identify what I feel, understand it, then pocket what I must to carry on about my day. Maybe I’ll come back to it another time. Likely, but not now. I’ve gotten better about maintaining this simultaneous sense of presence and boundary, but today felt particularly heavy. My mother called to let me know four more of my extended relatives have gotten COVID-19, which makes the total number of individuals I know who’ve gotten sick with the virus to fifteen. One death. I’m grateful that my immediate family and I continue to be healthy.
For many of us, there’s a certain threshold number where the humanity behind the figure becomes a blur, and a sense of anonymity pervades. I’m not sure I’ve reached that yet.
While I lean into this discomfort in hopes of finding renewed strength and courage, I’m going to practice the art of kintsugi to meditate on what’s been lost and breathe some new life in treasured items.