Monday, September 17, 2007

Lush - This blog is an act of flagrant plagiarism

This is a photo of my travel shrine - momentos of journeys I have taken in the past ten years or so. Candles from cathedrals, corks from memorable wine bottles, seashells from American and European coastlines, small pieces of pottery from Italy and Spain, gelato spoons, match books, and countless memories of indescribably beautiful, small, ordinary times on the road.

There is a woman I met online named Maya, and she is an exceedingly talented writer - poet - thinker - and as-yet-unmet friend. Check out her fabulous post about life; it's right up my alley. It's right here. After I read it, I sent her a comment and told her not to be surprised to find an imitation of it on my blog. I didn't even wait for her approval. Here goes...


It is lush, this life, lush with snippets of poetry and song, bay leaves scattered over countertops in order to repel ants, trips to Starbucks and Trader Joe's and the post office, arroz con pollo and salad with Spanish-speaking friends, grass that stays green despite the drought, late night snuggles with my snoring, adoring hubby, the noisy confusion of the house stereo system that comes on unexpectedly at 6:18 am.

It is lush with hour-long conversations with my daughter outside on the back deck today because the power was out and neither of us could get onto the computer, tortellini and salad for dinner, conversations with Steve about the various trips and activities planned for this week, piles of unmatched socks and well-worn underpants that need to be tossed, haircuttings from my dog and my son, finger and toenail clippings, iPod music that makes me laugh and cry, the smell of incense that reminds me of cathedrals in the north of Spain, anonymous comments on my blog, and postcard swaps.

This life is lush with postcards that arrive weeks late, letters that never arrive because they were never sent, elaborate plans to travel the world and the seven seas, looking around every corner for the face of a loved one, listening for familiar voices everywhere, airplanes and taxi cabs and minivans and sports cars, flip flops, knee high boots, thigh high socks, turtleneck sweaters, denim skirts, fleece slippers, dangling earrings, cross pendants, prayer beads, light bulbs, ceiling fans and air vents on the floor.

This life is lush with laughter, tears, dancing, books, paintings, concerts, dance recitals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, paper clips, colored pencils, archival ink markers, scrapbooks, scissors, photos of the children, the dog, and the beach, post-it notes, scotch tape, glue sticks, birthday cards, Christmas presents, New Year's Eve parties, sunrise service on Easter morning, passports, visa stamps, security checks, and beeping wands.

Lush with band-aids, albuterol inhalers, epipens, concerns about allergic reactions, dental visits, cancelled beauty shop appointments, shampoo, conditioner, coconut oil, boiled eggs, roasted peanuts, carmelized onion pizza, crunchy salads, ice-cold smoothies late at night, piping-hot strong coffee early in the morning, steel cut Irish oatmeal with bananas and slivered almonds, Kashi Heart-to-Heart cereal, roast beef sandwiches, pebble salad, warm peach scones, roibos tea, yerba mate, raw sugar, white sugar, Splenda, chocolate-peanut butter ice cream, and fat free vanilla soy milk.

Here are two of the elephants in my elephant statue collection. I found the first one in a small, dark shop just off the Via Tomacelli in Rome. The other found me in an equally small, but not quite as dark shop just around the corner from the piazza Santo Spirito in Florence.

Life is lush with lies, secrets, silence, untold stories, solitary adventures, missed trains, travel journals, photo albums, momentos of the journey, international postage, calling cards, hotel lobby couches, elephant statues, stolen chopsticks, sake glasses, olive oil from Siena, saffron from Madrid, and mints from London.

Lush with the deep colors of the sunrise behind the trees as I drive Daniel to school, wispy clouds overhead on the way home, stories of classroom antics, laments about homework assignments, Friday night football games, Sunday afternoon baseball practice, collared shirts, khaki shorts, clean sheets of graph paper, non-existent erasers on pencils, archaic textbooks, book covers, lunch menus to peruse, and science facts to memorize before tomorrow's test.

My daily routine begins in the early morning darkness. I sit up in bed, stretch out kinks and tight muscles, and then listen mournfully to the sound of my aging, cracking joints as I shuffle to my study. There I peer out my window at the tiniest sliver of the moon as it grins down on me, then fall into silent prayer, sacred reading, and profane journaling. I say prayers for protection, strength, wisdom, joy, and peace for everyone everywhere. But most especially for the people I love.

And always, always I give thanks for this lush life.


Amy said...

A beautiful piece of writing and of sharing yourself!
What is pebble salad?


GailNHB said...

Pebble salad is a mix of corn, other veggies, beans, pasta (or is it rice?), onions, greens of some sort - an amazing, hearty, colorful meal in a bowl that my friend, Jill, introduced me to back in CT. She is a great cook all around, but pebble salad is one of my favorites. I suspect it's called by that name because all the pieces are chopped small, like pebbles. Thanks for all of your supportive comments, Amy.

Shelby said...

Gail - you have made me smile and cry and laugh and .. look out my window. You have reminded me to be grateful. You are a dear person. You are.

Sending hugs - and being grateful for unmet kindred spirits.

Thank you.

Lisa said...

LOVE the idea of a travel alter! What a neat concept and photo. Indeed, there is an unimaginable amount of lush-ness in our lives each and every day. I am so blessed to be one who seeks to see and live it fully and consciously. Thank you for reminding us of our lush lives.

Nancy said...

Gail, as always, reading your blog has been lush. Beautiful!

Maya Stein said...


I'm humbled and grateful that my words offered the right inspiration for you. And what an offering you have given in return! Beautiful, alive, messy, gorgeous, generous, spirited, and hopeful. Thank you!