5 cousins at Sea World in 2003 and 2012
So many things have changed, but some things have stayed the same.
And happiness follows us everywhere we go.
There’s something you should know about me.
I like to draw whales. HOWEVER. When I draw whales, I always draw them…
with band-aids on their tails.
Yeah, I’m serious, and yeah, I know it’s peculiar. (and awesome)
And here’s why.
Burt Dow is a deep sea fisherman. One day he accidentally gets his hook stuck in a whale’s tail.
He pulls it out and puts a band-aid on the wound. But the other whales notice, and before long he’s surrounded.
Soon a surprised Burt discovers that they’re all eager to have band-aids stuck to their tales like the first whale! (Apparently that comrade of theirs was quite the war hero.) So Burt deals out band-aids to all the whales. I think I remember that some of the band-aids had stripes.
And they all lived happily ever after. Assuming the band-aids were waterproof.
So there you have it. A poignant history of art inspiration. Ask me to draw a whale for you sometime. 😉
“In person he was cadaverous and blackavized, and his hair was dressed in long curls, which at a little distance looked like black candles, and gave a singularly threatening expression to his handsome countenance. His eyes were of the blue of the forget-me-not, and of a profound melancholy, save when he was plunging his hook into you, at which time two red spots appeared in them and lit them up horribly. In manner, something of the grand seigneur still clung to him, so that he even ripped you up with an air, and I have been told that he was a raconteur [storyteller] of repute. He was never more sinister than when he was most polite, which is probably the truest test of breeding; and the elegance of his diction, even when he was swearing, no less than the distinction of his demeanour, showed him one of a different cast from his crew. A man of indomitable courage, it was said that the only thing he shied at was the sight of his own blood, which was thick and of an unusual colour. In dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of Charles II, having heard it said in some earlier period of his career that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts…. But undoubtedly the grimmest part of him was his iron claw.”
“Thus Wendy first laid eyes on the dark figure who haunted her stories. She saw the piercing eyes and was not afraid, but entranced.”
I took a week off from real life. I wandered up and down the bank of the Frio River like a wanderer come home, stepping on the same ground I visit every year. I remembered a game I made up when I was very young: trying to walk as far as possible without touching anything except cypress tree roots. I spent my childhood here, and somehow I managed never to take it for granted. It’s the simplest place in the world, a combination of peaceful and exciting that I needed so much. When did I turn into a grown-up with a life to escape from?
You would love those sprawling cliffs and the deep water below them. When you swim ten feet above the lazy catfish parties, it’s like you’re alone in an aquamarine mystery, and the mystery is more beautiful than the answer. I don’t think there is an answer, and that’s why it’s beautiful. The breeze turns the stillness into contented energy, and little ripples kiss your upper lip again and again like there’s no tomorrow and all we have is now. The past is gone and the future will never come and no one cares. You just swim into the 4 o’clock sun. You see poetry in everything. And for once, you exult in being alone… but then you’re not alone. Because your little sister and your fabulous cousin come and play seals right next to you, and then you exult in being not-alone. And you swim through the ripples to the diving log and pretend it’s a ship. Sometimes you can feel a fresh-water spring under you and it’s so COLD you scream and everyone thinks you saw a snake and then you laugh at them.
Then it’s eleven in the morning on another day and you’re alone again, down by the rope swing without much sunscreen, building a waterfall and channels for three hours. When you’re finished, it’s a quality establishment, and that sunburn on your back? It hardly matters. And your chipped fingernail polish? It doesn’t matter at all.
There’s a big hill from the upper campground to the lower campground, and it’s perfect for riding your bike with no brakes. People talk about throwing precaution to the wind, but I don’t think that’s what happens. I think the wind whooshes around you so fast that it snatches your precaution away from you, whether you’re holding it tightly or not. And I never hold mine tightly on that hill anymore. I’ve been hurtling down it at top speed ever since I was nine years old.
You would love the annual catfish-fry… sitting on rocks with fishing poles all day long, baiting with hot-dogs, naming the fish you catch, and throwing away the “stanleys”. And then at the end of the day, you haul your stringer back up to the cabin and your dad tries to show you how to clean the fish and it’s disgusting but now you’ll be able to survive in the wild. If you had a knife. And matches or flint. And cornmeal and Lowry’s salt and oil to coat the fish with. I fried them this year, and it took forever.
Oh, and then when you feel like it, you can walk up to the office and charge any number of ice-creams to your family’s account.
It was a week of enchantment and detachment. When being alone didn’t ever feel lonely. A week of painted rocks and curious fish and family and hardly any other campers to bring my mind back to the present. I don’t think I took a week off from real life, really. I think I took a week of visiting it. Maybe paradise is what’s really real, and everything else is simply the contrast material.
Scratch the maybe.
Ah, but the contrast material always seems so very contrasting when I come home. When I was a kid, I used to be sad to come home because home wasn’t as fun. But now I’m sad to come home because home is so much less home. It’s so much more complicated. Here is where I have to think about the future and figure out how to deal with the past. Here is where alone always feels lonely. But I tell myself to get a grip and wear a smile, because even while I miss that carefree river, a River of Life is flowing inside of me and I only have to look to the Source to realize that I will never despair and I will never let go. Even when all I want is to fade, there’s colour holding onto me that won’t let me give up. I can’t stay in paradise, but I can carry it with me always. And I will.
Emily and I spent a very diverting afternoon sewing miniature owls and listening to nearly every song ever released by Owl City. The owls’ names are, in no particular order, Mr. Popper, Ruth, Romeo, Owlfred, Wimberley, and Ludwig. If you can guess which name goes with which owl, you will win points. =)
In the light of my last ever regional tournament, this is really all I have to say to the people in Region 4:
The trees in my yard are not noble. Sometimes I sit staring at them, noticing how much they could use a good rain, and I wonder if they envy their distant cousins, varieties of maple, beech, or pine, and wish they could wear such blooming veils of leaves, and tickle their neighbors with branches sheathed in such sturdy and supple bark. The trees in my yard are like the people in my town– rugged, hardy, and familiar with drought. They don’t flaunt their elegance, since it can’t be found in the blunt organization of their boughs. They weather the world with a matter-of-fact grimness, like maiden aunts who know their bridal day will never come. But sometimes, when a storm knocks at the horizon and the wind sweeps through like an upstairs maid shaking out the rugs, I catch the trees in my yard laughing to each other, as if to say, “Life is one enormous practical joke, and isn’t our part in it supreme?”
[p.s. That line that’s obscured by the darkness of the grass says ‘too much, and not dancing this time’. Just wanted to clear that up. ;)]
The most recent activity to demand my full attention (attention I was happy to give, since it was so delightful an opportunity) was my Junior vocal concert last Friday night. Having prepared for this since last year, and having never given my *own* recital before, I was immensely excited, and not unduly so. It was a blast. There’s honestly almost nothing I enjoy more than singing for people. Of course when I got up there on stage I did experience the frailness of humanity… I forgot words, stumbled over myself a bit when I was talking, felt slightly awkward at times, AND accidentally left my hair band on my arm (a horrid pet peeve of mine)… but overall it was a marvelous evening. In case you wanted to know. 😉
I have pictures:
Car ride amusement–
^these girls have won so many awesome points. It’s ridiculous. =) ❤
And I have videos too– of every single song, actually. And there were 14 songs, so I’m not going to post them all here. A couple of my favorites are below, but you can view the rest on my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/PathwaysMedia.
‘The Dark Island’
‘I Love a Piano’