On Catching the Sunset

If you’ve read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, you know that the climax of the book is her dashing off from dinner and dishes to run through a field and take a picture of the moon. It’s a glorious moment, and every member of my family who has read it told me that the scene reminded them of me.

I spent the Fourth of July in Nebraska, and if there’s one thing Nebraska does better than anywhere else, it’s sunsets. Something about how all the dust in the air reflects the light.

I wrote this and realized it how similar it was to Voskamp’s moment when I was typing it up:

 

 

 

“This is a silver bullet,” she said as I ran to catch the sunset.

The sky was glorious in pink and orange and I wasn’t wearing shoes as my feet sprung from the pavement, legs feeling long.

I thought vaguely of werewolves and The Lone Ranger and wondered if they were playing make-believe. But I could see the tips of clouds like gold and like brighter than gold and I don’t know if there’s a word for that.

One more building, and I would see it. The road ended, and then there was gravel and my feet felt the little stabs from it. But I could almost see gold and something brighter than gold.

A burr caught in my foot, and I was still thinking of the Lone Ranger and silver bullets. My lungs hurt.

And then I was there. And it was ecstasy. And I wished I could stay and see exactly how all the colors turn to gold and brighter than gold.

I snapped a picture that would never catch the frame, the exuberance, the brilliance.

I walked back past the girls on the sidewalk, the bottoms of my feet stinging from burrs and gravel.

They were arranging fireworks.

 

my Nebraska sunset

My Nebraska sunset

On Moving Inland: This Blog Is Taking a New Direction, and So Am I

There are no streets to walk on, no maps you can rely on;
Faith and guts to guide you, wander ‘til you find you;
Only raw desire, no match to give you fire,
You’ll have to trust your heart
 
They don’t believe in oceans, you, you were a sailor
Who burned your ships and walked on, far away you walked on.
You keep turning inland where no man is an island.
It’s where you’re supposed to be.
 
You keep walking inland where no man is an island—
Come on home to me.
 
Afraid of your convictions, they said the land would change you;
Steady your confessions, your course make no corrections
When you are a stranger, hold your tongue and wager
Love will set you free
Until it sets you free.
 
You keep walking inland where no man is an island—
Come on home to me.
 
Just follow your desire,
Leave it all, you’re leaving all.
Just burn it in the fire
 
Of everything you once knew, and everyone that knew you,
Remove the shoes you came on, feel the earth you’re made from
Pack up all your questions, just keep heading inland,
And come on home to me.

Jars of Clay, “Inland”

This song is based on the story of Odysseus, who walked so far inland that the people didn’t know what a paddle was. So Odysseus was pretty out of his element.

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

Not everything is different, but enough is that it feels like I am in another world. I live in a different climate 1,000 miles away from my family, I have mountains blocking my view, I’ve applied to grad school, I’ve juggled three jobs, none in publishing though all about writing, I’m resigning from one of them, I’ve started writing not one but three books—and had I known exactly where all of this was going when I was eighteen and said that I wanted to be an editor, I would have been very doubtful that much of this was a good idea.

And yet, here I am. And while I feel like I have no idea where I’m going and only a vague idea of how I got here, I can look around with wonder and say that it is beautiful.

And since I’m in the midst of new things, I thought it was time that this website got an upgrade: I want to share more of my writing with you, so be on the lookout.  I’ve already posted A Love Poem About Home, which will give you a small taste of what I’ll be putting up.

You keep walking inland where no man is an island—
Come on home to me.

A Love Poem About Home

When I talk about “springing hills,” I was definitely thinking about Wales, and a house like this. Image via Flickr by MyfanwyX

The honeymoon stage doesn’t last forever in a relationship. It’s just the short, euphoric period of time in the beginning of a relationship. However, I wouldn’t call it the highlight, and I’m not sure that most people in long-term relationships would either. I think what you lose in butterflies and thrills you gain in depth and understanding.

Have you got a taste of what it is like to be known—and I mean all the skeletons, all the fears, all the places that still hurt?

This week I told someone how I met the Mister. Everyone’s relationship has a spark or fireworks at the beginning, but one thing I love about our story is that I think we got more fireworks than most.

We’ve got everything a good Hollywood romance needs: The romantic backdrop of lovely Oxford, England. The beauty of getting to know each other first and then falling in love.  The drama of unrequited love when one of us figured it out first. The painful waiting and jealously of a long-distance relationship. The turmoil and vulnerability of letting someone know you better than anyone else ever did.

Frankly, I think emotional turmoil is what makes a good story, but then again, I’m kind of a drama queen. Either way, the first year or two of our relationship had plenty of it. But it was never the bad kind of turmoil. It was surrounded by this kind of out-of-my-mind euphoria that comes from being head over heels in love.

We’ve been married a while now, and I feel like I’m finally in my right mind again, and life is different—a lot calmer, a lot more mundane. And things have been hard lately, too, but they’ve still been good because of who I married.

That’s basically what this poem is trying to say. Our love doesn’t feel like a wild and crazy adventure anymore. It feels like coming home.

We tumbled from the sky.
The earth was kind to us, welcoming our feet with springing hills
and warming our hands with light that struck our hearts and shot joy to
our fingertips.
 
I never thought loving you would be easy.
 
And yet falling was so simple, wrapped up in you,
with the wind throwing us down so that
I couldn’t even find gravity as we traveled
through fog and sunsets and clear blue skies to
land here.
 
Feet on the ground, loving you is second nature,
even without the wind to buoy us up and send us
looping in free form adventures.
 
I find that roots have their own breed of excitement
and that loving you through burned dinners and
unfamiliar neighborhoods and
cant-get-out-of-bed depression
hurts
and takes me to unfamiliar places and
makes unused muscles in my heart sore.
 
But I love the strange ground and I
don’t miss the sky and I
love that we still take off for adventures
in the air before coming home to
springing earth and
warming light and
home.