September 23, 2010

From the Organic Department

 I carry the word organic around in my back pocket.  I don't remember the first time I picked it up, but I'm pretty sure it was in a non-committal, unimpressed manner.  I bet I saw it lying on the ground like a dirty penny, picked it up, checked to see if it was heads or tails, and shoved it in my back pocket without much thought other than "maybe it's a lucky penny".  I probably recited "lucky penny / pick it up / and all the day / you'll have good luck" out of habit,  without a thought at belief, and regardless of the fact that it was a word not a penny.  So I shoved it, slightly used, into my back pocket, days and months and years ago.  I found it recently, in one of those uncomfortable situations, when I shove my hands into my back pockets, shift my weight, and try to appear casual, when really I'm feeling out of place, awkward, and uncertain - to say the least.  Organic.  I've been flipping it over in my hand and admiring it since I found it stashed away back there.  Not entirely sure what it means.  Not entirely sure why I am carrying it around.  Not entirely sure what to do with it.  But I can't let it go.

Everything comes in waves these days.  Waves of strength and waves of weakness and so many others.  Some knock me down, others lift me off my feet - floating effortlessly through time.  If I'm under water, I hold my breath until I can break through the surface again.  If I'm face up to the sunshine, I just try to ride the wave all the way to the shore and enjoy being carried for even a few moments.  I'm longing to be on the shoreline with my feet planted firmly on the ground, but I'm also trying to honor my time in the ocean.  Salt water cleanses, yes?  The pull of nature's body will always outweigh my own, yes?  I can see the shore; I am not drowning, no?  Everything comes in waves these days.

I make to-do lists and cross things off.  I make life lists, and goal lists, and daily lists.  I have short term and long term career lists.  I make lists of things that belong on multiple lists.  I write lists in my journal, on scrap pieces of paper, in spiral notebooks, here, and never ending in my head.  I apply for jobs.  (Speaking of never ending....)  I spend time on hobbies and my health and my career field and I concoct plans to get myself out of this rut without the help of a job, or a company, or a salary.  I raise my independence like a hard-won trophy and then cling to it too tightly because I'm afraid it's the only thing I have left.  I express myself too often in terms of loss and feel the weight of that trophy.  I say a silent thank-you for the people in my life.  I want to show them a parade of successes.  I repeat to myself that they are not asking for that.  They are just asking to hold my hand.  I need to let them.  I shower and dress and run an errand and congratulate myself.  I write another cover letter and take a sip of cold coffee.

I have two quotes that I have hung on to for years: “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm”  and "Barn's burnt down, now I can see the moon."  I feel guilty for the second, because I have so much.  But I still hang on to it.  I'm trying to find the peace in the storm.  I am trying to find the moon.  I'm realizing that the peace has to come first, before I can see the moon. 

I stick my hand in my back pocket and pull out that word: organic.  Run my thumb and forefinger over its smooth ridges.  Place it in my front pocket. 


  1. I am so proud of you my friend, your wonderful writing and beautiful, inspiring photography. Your smile, your amazing ability to put everything into perspective and your kind gentle heart. come visit us! I'll make candy sandwiches ;)

  2. Oh, even from far away, I always feel your love. It's the best thing ever. Thank you, thank you, so much! Truly.

    I would love to come visit - we will have to plan something once I get my feet on the ground. And candy sandwiches sound amazing - I haven't had one in so long! XO