Pic of Kora (a dog I sit for) a few months ago, as she watched the night descend on her Autumn yard. I’m a “seasonal affective disorder” kind of gal so Autumn is always hard for me. The days get noticeably shorter and, here in Utah, things visibly prepare for a harsher reality. It’s all about to get very real. So on Winter Solstice, even in the middle of cold and snow, I celebrate, for the end of the growing darkness giving way to more light each day is like being wakened to a mesmerizingly-slow dawn, where you know the sun will be coming and that the things that you thought were dead will again rise up from the ground to meet you. And my moroseness during Autumn is an appropriate sacrifice in order to honor our beautiful planet. Because there is darkness and death but there will also be cleansing and Spring, for “the darkest day of the year”
According to the birth certificate tucked inside my baby book, I was born October 1, 1968 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View California and my name was “Amy Brook Palleson”. I don’t remember any of the other fluff on it—height, weight, etc.—just that the paper was black with white printing and hard to read—which even seeing it at a young age had seemed odd—and that the book itself was a mess of white out and scratch outs and corrections. We can fast forward now, through memory lane, through years, through the solidification of who I was—via Rose and Martin Palleson (grandma and grandpa), Leeroyce and Deck Hogin (gammie and gampie); through aunts and uncles and cousins; through my brother Jeff born in early ‘71, my sister Alex in ‘75, and Clancy and Cindy, my father and mother—all the way to the couch in gammies living room where I lay quietly crying at 13 (or 12? I can’t even remember)
http://themoth.org/stories/the-house-of-mourning Press the link to watch Chaplain Kate Braestrup’s video from The Moth “House of Mourning”. I really got this video, and understood it from a deep place. For there was a time–after my soiree in college studying Native American and world religions and post-my first daughters birth–when I couldn’t see another path in front of me that didn’t lead to me becoming a non-denominational pastor. So to engage as Ms. Braestrup does with her world from the caring of a larger sphere of knowing is the most comfortable place of experience for me. And often I feel like a foreign visitor to a new planet when people talk of vacations and cars and hedonistic-esque material things for those to me are
[FB post from yesterday, 8/27] This morning at 5:04 AM I got an email via my yelp account from a recently-homeless woman who wanted to get a quote on how much it would be for me to board her two “beautiful” adult cats in my home. It was already a weird morning because my friend Graham sent me a link to my old Garfield house which is now for sale again and seeing the interior sterility and the back yard–which the summer after James moved in 2007 was the site of a “healing through manual labor and sunburn”–with its huge tree gone and most everything I planted looking dead really put the punctuation on the end of that chapter in my life. It was the punctuation you typically see after “you stupid fucking idiots; what the actual fuck.” And so it was that I started my day. Sunday. An easy work day before the madness starts up tomorrow and moves
On my way to sit a few days ago, I was on the stretch of 700 East where it curves around and intersects with 900 East. It’s a wide road there–like 8 lanes I think–with a lot going on, stoplights, and turn lanes, cars barreling and others merging, and another stoplight up ahead synced up with the 9th East one, so that if the first light’s green, you don’t even have to think about stopping. You can just sit your ass in your lane and just “f*ck it” on through. And it was late evening, but even through my speed and the curves, I could see something up ahead moving across the road from right to left, and it took me only just a sec to realize it wasn’t just one something: it was three “somethings”, a mama duck and her two babies, crossing this road, with cars easily going 55 to 60, mama in front and babies in back,
And sometimes it’s true that the things you believe you need in order to be joyous aren’t the right things at all, and so it is that I’m standing in Einstein bagels this morning getting breakfast for my kids experiencing an epiphanic moment. Because in my former life, I was a married, stay-at-home mom—whose hobby basically amounted to filling up her spare time with activities–and I can remember standing in line at Einstein bagels during that life with a “gettin’ ‘er done” attitude, as if getting my kids bagels was just the prep for the bigger parenting moments yet to come; as if standing in line, waiting for my nova lox on plain, crossing “nutritious breakfast” off my to-do list, was devoid of meaning unless accompanied by the million things I was reciting in my head that I’d obviously still need to do in order to be a good parent. But ten years out, I’m now experiencing a life in
[703 words; 2 min 34 sec]
I’ve never cried so hard as that day in 2007 when James drove his moving truck down the street.
He was moving from Salt Lake to live with his office assistant/girlfriend and her son 2000 miles away, just weeks after we told the girls we were divorcing, a divorce which blindsided me, James and Sarah probably beginning their relationship that summer we
[802 words; 4 minutes; society, homelessness, events, Salt Lake City]
8/31/2016: Jesus. At the Smiths [grocery store] at 9th and 9th, a homeless mom pushing a shopping cart filled with their stuff and her dazed-looking teen son with auburn hair and freckles following her riding his bike, bags hanging from the handlebars and backpack on
[1369 words; 6 min 50 sec; family, trauma, boyfriends, hope]
My mom was the impetus behind A.v.A.—my weed-smoking boyfriend–coming to live with us. The year was 1987—I was eighteen–and A.v.A. was an injured bird—motherless, practically fatherless, and a senior in high school—so, when his dad finally went MIA, my
[512 words; 2 min.33 sec. America, nostalgia, current events]
I’ve been listening to this song all day and thinking about America.
I remember sitting in a car with my mother circa 1993, and being called on to defend my ex-husbands adopted Korean sisters because to mom all Asians were forever tainted by Pearl Harbor,