From the monthly archives:

July 2011

Pilgrimage

by Lindsey on July 29, 2011

A pilgrimage is a journey of spiritual significance. Typically it is a journey to a shrine or a place that is important to one’s beliefs or values.

Every year, I go to Weekapaug, Rhode Island.  To most people, it is a vacation destination. The ocean, the sun. the beach. Sailing, tennis, golf. It’s all here. Some people even call it Camp Weekapaug. I partake in all of that.

But there is something more.

You see, I was conceived here many decades ago. That’s right, conceived. Not born. My parents had just finished building the house where I am writing this post. They came down one September weekend to enjoy the fruit of their labor and, well, my cells started dividing as my mother drifted off to sleep, listening to the ocean from her new bedroom window.

Having been pregnant three times before, she said she knew the next morning that she was pregnant. I don’t know if that’s possible but I believed her.

So each year, I come to this place where I began. Each year, I loop this small community on morning walks at dawn. I memorize the bumps in the road. I breathe in every smell. I try to record the waves, the light, the birds so that anytime I close my eyes, I will be here. It is how I mark time and how time marks me. It is my sun. In a very real way, my life is cradled here. Yes, I live elsewhere but when I come here each year, I can see how time has passed. Children are born and families have grown and changed. People I have known since I was a child are gone. Those are the easy changes to notice. There are more subtle ones. Internal ones. Ones that allow me to laugh more deeply and loosen my grip on the wheel of life. I think that big old body of water in front of me is what does it. It goes on and on without my doing a darn thing. If it can do that, then I would do well to wake up with a smile on my face, put the best words I know on paper and be the kind of human being I would love and and admire in the world.

I am lucky to know such a place, to have it in my soul’s memory. I am lucky to come here on a pilgrimage each year and reacquaint myself with these beliefs and values again and again.

Here is where I will take my last walk before I return to Austin tomorrow…

 

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Magic

by Lindsey on July 28, 2011

One of my daughter’s and my traditions when we come to Weekapaug, RI is to take a day to go to Mystic, Ct. and poke around the shops. The tradition started with my mother. She always liked to end the shopping trip with egg rolls and chopsuey at Zhang’s. That’s the only part we don’t do anymore. It is too sad without her.

So there we were poking around in a beautiful store called Whyevernot. It is filled with art and jewelry and clothes. The Teen was looking at necklaces. I was staring at a painting. A petite woman came over to open the necklace case for the Teen. Still staring at the painting, I asked, “Was this painting done by a children’s book illustrator?”

“Yes.”

“Was it the illustrator of Waiting for Gregory?”

“No. It was the illustrator of Red Sings From Treetops. It was me.”

I squealed. “You’re Pamela Zagarenski?” I squealed again.

She said, “Shhh…shhh…you’re embarrassing me. Stop.”

I muffled my squealing but I couldn’t talk because I was so excited.

The Teen explained, “You have to understand. Meeting you for my mother is like if I met Johnny Depp.”

I nodded, still unable to speak. Pamela’s eyes widened, understanding the analogy.

Finally, words returned and Pamela and I talked about her work, the painting that was worth every penny of the $20,000 price tag, and then the magical moment happened: she took me into the back room where she showed me some of her unframed prints (all the framed ones were sold).

Every one was absolutely gorgeous. The Teen and I chose five and then I bought the last signed copy of This is Just to Say, Pamela’s first book with Joyce Sidman. I felt rich beyond all imagining.

As we left the shop, I sighed, “That was pure magic. I love moments like that.”

The teen wasn’t so sure.

“But, honey,” I said. “In moments like that, it almost seems like there is a crack in the universe. All of a sudden, you’re meeting someone who you’ve only imagined. It feels like magic is afoot and anything is possible. Like Johnny Depp could have walked up behind us at that very moment when I was squealing and gushing, seen how beautiful that painting was and bought it.”

And just because I imagined it and said it, it happened in our minds right then.

Magic.

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Quotable Tuesday-Susa Silvermarie

by Lindsey on July 26, 2011

Today’s quote comes to us from my friend, fellow VCFA classmate and dancer of wild abandon, Susa Silvermarie.

“The passion for the story is the wind in your narrative sails. Begin at the heart. We must hear the heartbeat of the story. Love your characters into existence.”

“This quote moves me back to center every time,” says Susa. “I heard Gauch say it at Chautauqua in 2002, I think.”

Susa recently received a fellowship to attend the A Room of Her Own Foundation for Women Writers and Artists retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM this August. Also she has six poems in In the Spirit of We’Moon, a gorgeous 30-year anniversary anthology of We’Moon art and writing. Finally, she is in the process of getting her book of poetry, Tales From My Teachers on the Alzheimer’s Unit (published in 1996 and now out of print) up on her site.

Thank you for joining me today, Susa, and putting the wind in my sails.

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