A Safe Place & Time

July 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

          I was reading a novel the other day (big surprise huh) and the main character was attending a yoga class.  The class leader, clad in an electric blue leotard, asked all the people to think of their safe, happy place as they meditated.  When the character thought of her snug, comfortable bedroom at home, it started me wondering.  Where would I think of if I had to come up with a safe place? 

          The first image that popped into my mind was instantaneous.  I didn’t even have to pause.  It was a mental picture of home.  Me, sitting on the green carpet in the living room, with some of my siblings sprawling around me as we play a board game.  The windows are open to catch the breeze and it’s summertime, I can tell even in my mind.  There are lights glowing brightly, snacks in the fridge, Mom and Dad are around somewhere.  We are laughing hysterically, Jul and Angela and I, as we play whatever game it is, and I know why this laughter is so tangible in my thoughts of a safe place.  It’s because I have always been lucky enough to know that my family shares the exact same sense of humor, one that is witty, sometimes intelligent, heavy emphasis on puns (thanks Dad), and none of the crudity that passes for comedy these days.  We make word plays, make fun of each other, exaggerate, fire off quick retorts.  We are close, we love one another.  There is a baby in a bouncy seat nearby, watching our play with bright eyes.  There are couch cushions scattered on the floor and books everywhere.  This is a safe place, I know.  At home, in the living room, laughing with my sisters and brothers. 

          Then I started to really think about the safe places in my life and I came up with another one almost immediately.  This might be an older snapshot but it still held the same feeling of security as my home did.  I was in the Holy Family Center chapel, surrounded by flickering candles and sharp spears of light from the stained glass windows and door.  All my friends were there, all the families I had grown up with and seen at Friday night Mass every week for years.  All the community members I remembered from my childhood.  I was kneeling towards the altar and a priest with a blurry face was elevating the Eucharist.  Even now, writing this, I can feel the nubby red carpet under my knees and see the red candlelight behind the altar.  There is Grandpa Hudak’s kind smile as he offers me the consecrated cup.   I can feel the little tug of nervousness in my stomach as I stepped up to the lectern for the readings even though I must have read at Mass over a hundred times.  The little kids shuffle and nudge, waiting for it to end so they can burst onto the lawn of the Center and run off all their energy.   This is the place where I learned that a prayer can move your soul and make you a little bit of a different person than you were before you heard it.  I learned that a song can make you cry, that God can be heard and seen and touched by my hand.  Maybe some people went to Friday night football games.  I went to Mass with my family, every Friday for years.  It’s a truly safe place.         

          A third mental snapshot, a third safe place:  Longport, New Jersey, a beach town.  I’ve been vacationing in this town every summer since I can remember.  It’s not a specific memory of a time in my mind though, or an image of my relatives’ beach house.  It’s not even really the beach itself.  What makes me think of Longport as a safe place is because it’s like magic.  Nothing bad ever happens there.  It’s so full of memories with places and people from my childhood all the way through now.  Ghosts of me and my cousins run through the streets, hop along the burning sand, throw our bodies in childish abandonment out into the rolling green waves.  We chase each other in tag around the beach playground, and then whirl into our teenage years, putting on the green at mini-golf, cruising around town at night to get ice cream at the Dairy Bar on Ventnor.  We’re too cool; we saunter in the humid night air, the salt sticking to our clothes.  We stroll right into (almost?) adulthood, newly 21, and there we’re cradling wine glasses on the front porch, we chug from sweating beer cans on the beach.  We start going out to fancy dinners and then a bar afterwards; we stop thinking those mini-cereal boxes are way cooler than regular size ones.  Before I know it, I’m 24 years old and Longport is still magic.  A safe place. 

          After reflecting for a few more minutes, I realized just how incredibly lucky I am.  To have so many places where I know I can feel secure and loved is amazing.  I don’t know which one I would choose to think about, should I ever be instructed to find my safe place from a leotard-clad yoga instructor.  I suppose I’ll just have to hope it’s a long meditation period.

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Sartorially amusing

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

19

 And this is why I love couture.  This is from Dior’s Fall Couture 2010 collection.  (Model: Anna Selezneva)

I’m trying to make a more complete post about some of the fall shows I enjoyed.  (I loved the equestrian theme in Dior’s Fall RTW and my heart lifted to see more thigh boots come strolling down the catwalk!)  However, I’m going to the beach on Thursday with Danny and I might not have time before then.  We shall see.  In the meantime, do you think they made Anna hold her breath the whole time she was out there so that she wouldn’t fog up the shrink wrap??  😉

Oh sweet summertime

July 8, 2010 § 2 Comments

I hope everyone had a wonderful and patriotic 4th of July holiday!  I had a great time.  There was beer.  There was kielbasa.  There were peppers and onions.  There was even some moonshine.  But we won’t talk about the moonshine.    I basically spent the entire day in the pool.  First I was at Brittany’s house in their amazing pool, floating around on the rafts with her and some friends.  Later on I went to Dustin’s house with Danny and swam there too!  Also sat in the hot tub for awhile.  We had tons of good food and drinks.  Then we set off the fireworks. 

Now if you’ve never had the pleasure of hanging out with me on the 4th of July, you probably have no idea of my feelings towards fireworks.  So let’s give this the explanation it deserves.  Imagine you are there, on Dustin’s lawn, feeling the cool green grass tickle your feet, watching as the dusk settles on the hills in the distance.  It grows darker.  The guys bring out the fireworks, all the rockets and tubes and boxes and grenades that you could desire.  Heavy duty stuff.  And let’s not forget the big guy: the Atomizer.  A red box, nine tubes sticking up, about the size of a normal microwave.  This is the Atomizer and it is sitting a mere two feet from you.  It’s basically guaranteed to send up a small mushroom cloud over West Pittston.  You are relaxed though.  You feel the breeze, it’s very slight.  Not enough to worry about drifting cinders and debris landing on the roof of the house.  Suddenly, I approach you, babbling about how much I love fireworks and how I won’t need to borrow a lighter from the smokers this year, because I was prepared and bought my own.  I show it to you, it’s pink plastic.  It’s a lighter and it’s not even a Bic.  Why am I so excited?  You watch me curiously as I turn away and bounce back to the carelessly sprawling mound of fireworks.   I rub my hands together gleefully, give a maniacal cackle, and then select a few rockets.  I have no fear.  I tear off the packaging, trot to the tubes and slide the firework in.  With a flick and a whoosh of flame, I light the wick.  The dancing sparks illuminate my crazy grin and the whites of my eyes as I scamper back to a safe distance.  The thunderous boom rattles the windows and we all follow the line of fire up into the sky.  It explodes and colors glow bright against the velvet blue night.  Red, green, purple, white flowers blossom in the sky and momentarily blind us.  They hover for a split second and then wilt far too soon.  The dull orange embers trail downward, slowly, floating, most dying before they come anywhere near the ground.  When you finally turn your gaze back down to earth, you can see me out of the corner of your eye.  I’m still staring up at the sky, clapping my hands in an expression of child-like amazement, and the unabashed joy in my face makes you smile.  You start to remember why we are celebrating this day.  And that we are proud to be Americans not because of our shiny things and our fancy gadgets, but because in America we are brave and free.  Free to be dazzled by something as simple and bright as lights in the sky.  Then, of course, I whirl around and light off some more.

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