Movements of the Moment and a Happy List

Between the Occupy movement and the Keystone XL Pipeline protests there has been much as of late to get excited about.  At the very least important progressive issues are taking center stage in the media, and at best real change in our world is fermenting.

As I spend hours in a tantalizing mixture of passionate conversation, media research, and imagining ways that we might actually, finally, start asking the important questions about our society rather than ‘how can we sort of balance the budget while still maintaining the status quo, and thus neglecting all the important programs that make people and culture thrive?’, I’m finding internal tension building.  I’m forgetting to breathe, and I’m tending toward anger and blame rather than compassion.

To rectify this, or at least make small internal movements toward calm and compassion, here is my present moment happy list, a resurrection of a delightful pasttime my high school BFF Susan and I undertook quite extensively.

1. Brief glimpses of glorious autumn sunsets from the windows at work before I head into an evening meeting.

2. Coco Rosie.

3. Weddings, somewhat in spite of myself, and the ensuing emotion.  I finally posted the album of my own celebration.

4. Winter squash, large and small, from the tiny gourds that I used as the cake topper for my brother in law’s wedding cake last weekend to the enormous Cinderella squash they let us take home from the decorations stash.

5. Reading graphic novels again, and finding series on my own (though your past recommendations have been marvelous, Caleb, and I do enjoy receiving Locke and Key from you), and discovering the relatively extensive collection held by the Hennepin County Library.

What is your happy list these days?

An emotion with no name.

Life is a beautiful, complex, sometimes painful and often marvelous creature that more often than not is indescribable when at it’s most poignant.  So when I found this excerpt from ‘The Eyes of the Soul’ by Hugh Brockman Ripman in the latest issue of Parabola magazine that nearly perfectly describes my internal reaction to said poignancy, I knew I had to record and share it.

Feelings of like nature were sometimes produced by impressions reaching him through eye or ear- a sunset or a symphony, the flash of a bird’s wing against the blue of the sky, the voice of a mother crooning to her child.  At times for a whole week he would be filled by this sense of expectancy, of being on the verge of revelation.  At such times all his senses were unusually sharp, as though stripped of a covering which normally muffled them, and he felt an emotion to which he could give no name.  It was a kind of pleasant melancholy, painfully intense under the stimulus of certain impressions, as though he were a musical instrument, the strings of which lay in his heart and were plucked, and in the pain of the plucking was born the beauty of the note.

Blessed be the beauty and pain, friends, family and strangers, dusk and sunrise, and the glorious sensory overload that is October.

Right Now I’m Reading: The Likeness

While the arrival of autumn announces the dwindling of local produce and extensive outdoor adventures, it also brings the advent of many things I love and can’t quite find time for in the summer: lazy days with tea, crafting and quilting, and READING.  I’m already in the book devouring stage, and The Likeness by Tana French is one of the first casualties.

I added French’s second novel to my library queue after reading a most excellent blog entry/book review/generally awesome contemplation of the universe by The Rejectionist on books that are like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.  If you haven’t read TSH, stop reading my ridiculous blog entry right now and go find a copy at your local used bookstore.  It’s downright addictive and dare I say perfect for the sort of weather we’re having in the Twin Cities these days.

The Likeness is almost as delectable as TSH, a murder-mystery-college-type morsel that has led to reading at a coffeeshop an hour longer than I planned and being twenty minutes late to work because I so desperately wanted to finish a chapter.  The characters aren’t quite the caliber of those in TSH, but I’m only about halfway through so I should probably reserve judgement until resolution.

Whether you are in school or the work world, The Likeness is a delightful break from reality.  Plus the author kind of looks like a fierce elf.

Next on the docket? Sheepish by Catherine Friend.  (Hit By a Farm was possibly my favorite read during the 2009 summer I spent working on sustainable farms in Western MN)  Recently finished?  Bossypants by Tina Fey.  Hi-freaking-larious.