Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It's early and the dog is back to waking me up early - real early. So I'm drinking coffee and thinking about how complicated things have seemed lately. My world is in the process of a huge change, and sometimes when I think about it too much it really makes my stomach hurt. But this morning, I realized that all of the really important things will stay the same. And so the changes are pretty much cosmetic - on the surface - and all the rest will be as it was, only better somehow.

I will still get up without an alarm clock, knowing that the earth has a built in way of waking me when the sun rises and the light spread across the grass and over the hills. I will enjoy my first cup of coffee, and start my day slowly. I will spend time writing, looking out a window from a comfortable spot. I will begin the day's work, talk on the phone, and meet deadlines. I will rinse out the dog's dish, and make myself something to eat when I get hungry. I will take an afternoon nap if I feel tired, read a book I want to read, and only eat popcorn with butter late in the evening. I will stay up late and think about things in the dark. And I will sleep. The better part of it is that I will love and be loved during and inbetween all the regular stuff.

This love has been a long time coming...and I've waited patiently, knowing it would happen again, but wondering how and when. And one day, when I wasn't expecting it - poof - it was there, reminding me that it's what we all really want, and that it changes things.

Getting up with the sun seems better when I open my eyes and feel the warmth of another body, who has picked me to love. The coffee tastes sweeter, when I sip it across the table from someone whose eyes smile at seeing me. Deadlines are less daunting and sleeping much more refreshing.

And the change is good. The complicated things that need to be done take only my attention for awhile, and the rest falls into place comfortably, as if nothing matters but the love. And this is good.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

one week

In one week from tomorrow, I will be sitting in the passenger side of a 16' U-Haul, looking over at a man I barely know, well on my way to a new and exciting life. Most of the time, I smile about it. But once in awhile, my insides scream "what the hell are you doing?"

I like to think that many things will stay the same. I will meditate, do yoga, and consult with the angels and my heart when it comes to big decisions. I will drink coffee every morning and walk my dog every afternoon. I will read and write and make potato soup on cold days.

I like to think that many things will be different. I will live in a different space, with different surroundings. There will be more cold weather than hot. There will be more snow than rain. There will be new places to discover, and new spaces in which to write. And there will be love.

But so many questions remain. What will I do with this new love I've found? Will I go to bed earlier because he does? Will I want to feed him? Will I revert to the old me...too much sacrifice and no voice? Will I be able to cry? Or will I try to be strong and not let my feelings show. Will I like fishing? Will he like hikes and picnics? Will the conversation stay interesting? Or will we begin to talk about the weather too much? Will I be able to let him leave more than a toothbrush and clean underwear in my space? Will we laugh enough? Will he love me in the way I need to be loved? Will he stay gentle? kind? honorable? passionate? Will I stay happy? peaceful? creative?

I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that unaswered questions are simply the road to new discoveries and adventure. Uncharted territories are more difficult without a map. I suppose I am like an explorer. Instead of seeking out undiscovered land to settle, I simply seek undiscovered parts of me. What I will find remains a mystery. I think they will be grand. I think they will be honest. I think they will be lovely. And perhaps there will be a few dark spaces into which I will need to shine a light.

One week from tomorrow, I will sit in a faraway place and listen to the night sounds under the same moon that I've come to know. Next to a man I barely know, I will write about the journey to myself, knowing I made the only choice I could make - the choice to make the trip, continue on life's journey, map or no map.

Monday, February 06, 2006

time to go

I sat alone at the bar in Stetson's Nightclub Saturday night. The bartender, dressed in black and wearing a felt cowboy hat served me a vodka and tonic and mentioned that drinks were a buck fifty 'til 10, then drawled, "thank you, darlin," as I slid his tip across the bar. From my stool on the end, I watched as couples two-stepped across the dance floor. It was a scene as familiar to me as sticky summer nights and Houston traffic jams. I couldn't help but to think that in a few short weeks, all that is comfortable and familiar will be 1200 miles away. And everything around me will be new. Looking around, one fact was obvious. I was alone and it was time to go.

I'm ready, feeling a bit anxious, but ready. I have packed up many of my things to prepare for the move. The walls of my living room are white again, and the cupboards are practically empty. I've discarded so many things that I don't really love, thinking that I should become more choosy about the things with which I surround myself in the future. Along the way I'm realizing just how little I need to survive, or more specifically, thrive. It is freeing but a little bittersweet.

Texas was a friend, a safe place for me after living in my tiny hometown. Here I was anonymous for years, known only to those I choose to include in my life. It was exciting and big, with lots to discover. It allowed me to make choices unaffected by well-meaning friends and family. It allowed me to find my own path and grow strong and confident. Texas was untamed for me, a place to take risks and fall down and get up again, ready for the next challenge. I found home and family and love. Somewhere along the way, it fell apart. It's southerness lost some of the charm. Love went bad and family took advantage. My heart began to ache every hour and everyday. Friends left, seeking their own adventures - new lives in new places. And I stayed too long.

So I, too, am leaving you, dear Texas. Thank you for Big Bend, "yes ma'am," and tequila shots. Thank you for boots and rodeo and chicken-fried steak. Thank you for Galveston, humidity, honky-tonks, country music and sweet tea. I will take a bit of you with me. I'm afraid I'll never give up saying, "y'all." Memories of you will waltz through my mind when I hear George Strait on the radio on cold winter nights. And those 22-year-old Tony Lamas - I'll put new soles on them a fourth and fifth time if necessary. They've walked through many Texas towns and hold the memories of dust and heat and dragonflies over the river.

Standing on the edge of what is new, I am anxious, but comforted by the fact that the time is right. And that somewhere 1200 miles away a new life awaits me. There will be new friends, new discoveries and lots of space to make a place for the words to flow from my pen onto the blank pages of my notebook. The hills of South Dakota call me. Even in the bleak winter the sun reflects off of the snow and I am warmed by it, drawn to it, ready to explore new love, gentle, strong and passionate.

Will South Dakota be a friend, or just an acquaintance? Will I sit alone on a bar stool sipping a vodka and tonic some distant February evening feeling the pull of the familiar, yet ready to move on? I have so many questions without answers, risks yet to take, miles to put on my old brown boots. And while I'm leaving an old friend, it is a new beginning. I will take risks, fall down, and get up for the next challenge. I will live.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

happy birthday bailey!

Today is Bailey's 12th birthday and I've been trying to decide how to celebrate. He's not big on party hats, or the silly bandanas they tie around his neck at the groomer. Not a big accessory guy. He has the market cornered on aging gracefully. I hope that I can learn from his quiet acceptance of his graying black spots and the way his back legs don't have the same strength they used to have. He seems quite happy to lounge around most of the day, enjoying afternoon naps in the sun, and loves to take long walks out on the hiking trail, even though they take more out of him than they used to.

For his friendship, I am grateful. He and I have had a loving relationship since he came to live with me when he was 10 weeks old. We've slept together on stormy nights. He's cuddled up close to me, offering comfort when I needed a good cry. He never offered unsolicited advice, just listened, ears perked, when I had things to work through. He's always happy when I come in the door, and spends most of the workday lying at my feet...a great thing when the weather is a little cold.

My friend Carol says he's a "philosopher" at heart, with soulful eyes and a harmonic demeanor. When we take walks and the smaller more vocal dogs greet him with lots of barking as they pull on their person's leash, he simply stops for a moment, takes note, and goes about sniffing at the grass and around the lamp post or tree stump. He is certain of who he is, and fearless when it comes to other canines. Torrential rain accompanied by thunder and lightning...now that's something he's a little more leery of.

As he ages, things just don't seem to be as easy for him as they used to be. He has an accident now and then, which makes him a little embarrased, and his diet seems to be getting a little complicated. The stairs seem a little more daunting, and sometimes his back legs just don't support him and he ends up on his bottom. But he just gets back up, shakes a little, and carries on with whatever it is he was doing.

Yes, I want to age as gracefully as my dog. Happy birthday, Bailey. Thanks for the love, the companionship and the smiles you've given me. You really are a good boy and you are very loved.