come away with me, or how to get lost on one kings lane

There’s a certain kind of magic when the city is bathed in
light, buds begin to bloom, and parks swell with people.
With those perfect early spring days in mind, we gathered
all the elements of a chic Parisian apartment in a softer,
lighter palette. Your sunny hideaway awaits.

Click!

Marta_Chair

the marta chair

Lately I’ve been addicted to the One Kings Lane ads that clutter my inbox every day because they use editorial storytelling to sell a heap of beautiful things I don’t need and can hardly afford.  This is an online retailer disguised as a design blog, and they push out clever emails inviting you to various themed “events” featuring all the designer-selected furniture, decor and linens you’d need to achieve the desired look.  The key word being

desired.

I used to delete these emails without question but that was so yesterday.  One or two forays down the lane and the storytelling’s got me hooked!  I think last week or today or the day before some day they lured me into “The Gentleman’s Study” and before that I wandered through “The Lost Art of Afternoon Tea” and lingered there for a few minutes until moving on to ponder how I might “Achieve the Library Look.”  Noted tastemakers have done all the shopping for me —  they’ve trotted the globe gathering vintage fleamarket finds and art deco jewelry, tufted linen club chairs in soothing Montauk hues and decorative books to line my shelves.  It’s all taken care of!  All that exhaustion, all the decision-making — at someone else’s expense and artfully arranged.  It just sails across the lawn and lands smack on your doorstep every morning before sunrise.  You can just wake up, grab your morning cup and find yourself transported to an elegant English Manor or some other equally imaginative landscape, all while snuggled in your robe and slippers with your hair still in a scrunchy!  I’ve gotten so drawn into the storylines I’ve begun pinning $199 turquoise vintage typewriters to my Interiors Pinterest board with no hope in sight.

But this post isn’t about that typewriter.  Of course if you love me and have some change to spare I wouldn’t mind if you snatched it up before it sells out.  Maybe stow it away in the garage until my birthday — I won’t mind waiting and I promise to fall over with surprise before finding the perfect spot for it in my study.  No, what I really mean to blog about is not that typewriter at all or my wasting time on One Kings Lane but something else entirely.  After a few minutes browsing a recent event entitled “Wake Up In Paris,” I wandered over to the “Weekly Click List” and bumped right into a plug for a lifestyle blog called Modern Hepburn.

Did you say, Modern Hepburn?  . . . CLICK!

Modern Hepburn is a simple, elegant tumblr site, a visual feast filled with beautiful photographs and lovely quotations.  More Katharine than Audrey, it’s one woman’s decisive digital scrapbook with minimal text or commentary.  Unlike this blog with its heaps of blathering, you can make a quick visit to Modern Hepburn and just take in all the beautiful things.  One step up from Twitter and yet another from Pinterest.  It’s more like a graceful glide from the tree instead of a mindless chirp.  Now there are many creative tumblrs like this because that is sort of what tumblr is known for, being more like a portfolio or pin board, but what I love about this particular site is its entire page devoted to hands, two of my favorite things.  I love hands.

hands clasped.  hands outstretched.

hands holding other hands.

hands pressed in prayer.

This Modern Hepburn, whoever she is, is someone else on the planet who loves hands.  And now there’s this lovely place to go when I need one, when I’m writing about them.  Hands.  Where, because I don’t have that $199 turquoise vintage typewriter, I will be able to use my computer to scroll through the photographs, upload one to my blog and share the stories they tell with you.  Stories of kindness, generosity, and hope.

 

An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day,

which was one good reason but not the only one to hold someone’s hand.

~ Nicole Krauss “The History of Love”


 two or three little birds: hands

tumblr_n29u17kahN1syearho1_500I wrote this post after two weeks spent driving across four states in the southern united states, and the only thing I could think to write about were the father and son holding hands on a train:

But at one moment during his conversation with me, the man took his son’s pale hand in his and held it gently, patting him softly with his other hand.  Their fingers seemed worn smooth with familiarity and they playfully intertwined as the man continued in his quiet way to tell me about visiting his brother one time in the prison I had passed just outside Bakersfield.  It was a seamless gesture of affection, but I noticed it, and I can’t seem to get the image out of my mind.  The way his son rested peacefully with his touch.  The love between this elderly father and his adult son traveling together on a train to spend the day in Santa Fe.

holding hands, 24 july 2014

tumblr_ltwe2dfJVc1qi8o10o1_500And this describing my favorite hour of the week with my favorite people doing my favorite things:

We’ve spent another Sunday morning sitting close to one another for a whole hour, though, locking arms and holding hands, singing . . . smiling . . . praying

resistance is futile, 10 november 2014

tumblr_n1ieqlc77E1r21xm5o1_500

More hands . . .

Heraclitus says, day by day, what you do is who you become, and isn’t that wisdom for all of us to think about?  I know this is going to sound sillyhearted, and God if I can’t get the memory out of my head of my friend recently referring to me in jest as Mother Teresa, but I’m going to say it anyway.  I do.  I really really do want to spend my days holding hands.

leap, 11 september 2013

 

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burning the old year

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

How will you spend the next few days?  Looking back, looking around.  Or . . . looking up?  “So much of any year is flammable,” as the poet below most beautifully expresses.  And if I looked around at my own work spaces, at all the baskets I’ve crammed with notes and slips of paper saved, photographs sent to me by someone wanting me to remember a moment we shared, in all of that what I suppose I’m keeping most is not the things themselves, but love and hope and the promise of good things to come.

 

Burning the Old Year

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

 

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

 

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

 

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

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if we could hold time in our hands

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.

~ Francis Bacon

baconstarsOnce in a supermarket checkout line I was asked by the bagging clerk, If you could have any superpower, what would it be?  Flummoxed by the question, he offered me some choices his previous customers had mentioned.  Would I want bionic vision and the power to see through anything?  I looked around at the grocery carts in line behind me and decided I was grateful for clothes and walls thank you very much.  Would I prefer invisibility then?  The power to walk about or slip secretly into any room unnoticed?  Again, not interested.  I mean, I love to eavesdrop as much as the next guy and would certainly entertain the thought of being able to trail behind my girls during their high school years, knowing that they knew I could be right there, Invisible Mom, following them at all times at any given moment, but something about that power is fundamentally creepy to me.  And besides, what would I do without mystery in my life?  So what superpower would I want?  And this is when I said something that surprised him because he hadn’t heard it before.  I said, I would want to step outside time.  Not to stop it, but to just move aside.  Maybe find a park bench under a leafy tree and just put my feet up, sipping a latté and reading a book.  Smiling.

Now I don’t mean I want to sit back and watch life go by or anything like that.  It’s not that sort of thing.  It’s not that I want time to stop so my children will never grow up or I will never grow old.  I don’t want to go back to a simpler time either nor do I want to fast forward to some better time.  It’s nothing like that at all.  Here’s the deal as best as I can explain it.

I have never worn a watch, except maybe if you count that one Timex glow in the dark waterproof watch my dad bought for me at Thrifty’s Drugstore when I first learned how to tell time and that I really just wore so I could put on my goggles and watch its second hand circle around as I counted how long I could hold my breath underwater.  It had a velcro strap that eventually gave me some kind of skin rot rash and then that was it for me.  No more watches.  Many years later when someone asked me why I never wore a watch, all I could think to say was, I guess I’m philosophically opposed to them.  The thought of strapping time to my body makes me anxious.  The idea that these shackles are even remotely fashionable let alone high-end luxury items, astounds me, too.  As my closest companions will be quick to tell you, time is just something I don’t keep well.  It’s not that I don’t respect it.  It’s not that I don’t respect the way others respect it (and organize their lives around it, said with absolutely no judgment whatsover).  It’s just I resent it is all.  I resent the way it makes us feel: panicked, rushed, impatient, sentimental, old.  Maybe its the romantic in me, but I want this superpower, to live timelessly like trees or stars.

And yet isn’t it always this time of year when the calendar pages fly by, when the countdowns begin and like leaves dropping from trees the clock on the wall tick tick ticks.  Yes, right on schedule, right about now I’m starting to get a little grumpy with time.  I start to get short with her for barging in like this, and I want to call her nasty names in front of my children but settle for single letters instead.  F U, B!  See that park bench over there?  Do you?  Well, I’m going to go grab my books and a blanket.  See you in February, sister!  But time, she holds my coat and snickers, hear those sleigh bells jingling?  Ring ting tingling?  Damn her!

And so it goes, every November.  Whether I’m wearing a watch or not no longer matters.  I’m tangled up — despite my denial and protest — in the race against time — in the maddening holiday rush against the ticking clock.  And I wonder each year how can I possibly step outside of it?  How can I just move aside?  Because you and I both know I’ve already got two rolls of adorable “sheet music” wrapping paper in my trunk and am already hunting down the perfect velvet red ribbon to go with it, not to mention some complimentary red paper to make that perfect splash of color under my as of yet purchased but certain to be ten foot tall tree I complain about never having time to decorate.  And the catalogs are pouring in.  I’m picking out gifts and creasing pages and panicking because I know that as each second ticks by, one more item in the size and color I want is getting loaded onto a truck bound for someone else’s house which means I’ll have to go to the mall and then there’s the traffic and . . . .  Is it possible to truly enjoy this time of year?  I mean, can one actually have a happy holiday when there’s this little drummer boy reminding you to bake, shop, wrap, write, repeat?

One of the ways I try to maintain my philosophical opposition to time is to spend it as joyfully as I can.  I try to read a beautiful book like Marilynne Robinson’s Lila.  More candles come out around the house.  If I’m in the kitchen baking treats for my friends, there’s music and dancing.  If I’ve got to go out and face the shopping mall, there’s got to be a stop for pastries and a latté somewhere where they’ll trace a heart in the froth.  I smile at the clerks and get out of the way of that lady rushing ahead of me.  Spend a day in San Francisco, wandering through the de Young or walking in the park before taking the long way home down Highway 1 at sunset.  Sure, I notice everyone looking at their watches, wondering where I’ve found the time.  It’s not that I ever lost her.  No.  It’s not like that at all.  I’ve simply stepped aside.

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
~ Jorge Luis Borges

I’m curious to know . . . how do you make time for JOY during the holidays?


 

Creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless.
~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.
~ Eckhart Tolle

Clocks slay time . . . time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.
~ William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.
~ Brian Andreas

Another glorious day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.
~ John Muir

 

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