My favorite climbing tree looked like a prisoner, stripped naked and hunching over in the corner of our front lawn. I wanted so badly to take my shoes off and climb up to let its branches cradle me while I tore at deep green leaves and twisted soft twigs into halos. But Ohio winters would never allow for something so reviving in Ohio’s February. Every winter it’s the same; I despise the cold for putting all of my trees to sleep! And now in the glory of springtime, I adore walking down a sidewalk painted in their shadows.
God has brought me to live in four different states, moving around twenty times (I lost count of the little ones), and each time I have always found a tree or two to be glad for. Texas was a decent place to live because I never had to go without my trees. Even when I lived in subdivisions there, I knew I could at least drive to a park and find a tree to lie beneath. The Northwest has some sturdy evergreens to climb (if you can reach the first branch) and the Oregon coast (okay, I didn’t live there, but one week of road trip was plenty to make an impression) has those majestic white oak trees all through the country side. As I was relaxing in my summer apartment this weekend, I noticed all of the trees whispering in the afternoon breeze. That sound is so relaxing to me. I can close my eyes anywhere and imagine myself on our back porch in Ohio, watching storms crawl across the cornfield while the nearby trees braced their leaves against it. Mmm the sound of home.
I remember once even last semester being so overwhelmed by a couple of family-related decisions to be made and felt alone in making the decision. So I used a class cut and took a walk to a nearby park in search of a good tree. I climbed right up into that God-made cradle and cried and prayed and cried some more. Today I ate my lunch in Moody’s plaza and looked adoringly at the good climbing tree while it beamed in the sunshine. And I just have to say that I am thankful for trees. I can see God’s grace to me in the feeling of home that he lets me find in them.
No matter where God leads me to live next, I am pretty sure that I will be just fine as long there is at least one tree within driving distance. = )
At thirteen years old, I was stopped by my own breath. To see it leave my lips and spread forward into the air was fascinating to me. I tuned out the winter war and stood still by the silo, filling my lungs with cold air and watching it twirl outward, suspended in front of the frozen cornfield just beyond our snow fort. A wad of snow and ice whistled past my head…Scrunching my lips together, I snorted air out of my nose, feeling the warmth smooth down my chin and seep between the folds of my scarf. Shaping my mouth into a rounded tunnel, I pushed more air out, trying to manipulate the shape and direction of my breath. I moved my head from side to side in quick motions, watching the stream stop in tiny clouds in front of me. Then, I waved my face around in circles, watching the waves slide and shift and…”Alexis, what are you even doing? The boys stole our snowballs! We need more ammo!” Right…
A few people have asked me about how my New Year’s resolutions are coming along. Well, I have yet to floss, this is my second blog entry and this morning is the first time I have made my bed all year. But I sure do like this new year so far. Somehow, by what has to be some miracle from heaven, I have been able to continue in my reading along with the Book of Common Prayer and learning about the Christian liturgical calendar and seasons. And I have been immensely more intentional with my studying, meditating praying.
Thinking about what’s inside me and watching it move outside and away from my body, the intensity of reflection and action–it’s thrilling to me. I revel in introspection and the motivation that accompanies it. I can entertain all of the new year hooplah bandwagon stuff because of this. If nothing else to you, it gives me more of an excuse to retreat into my own world and think and think and overthink and dream and plan and conjure up ideas and then I actually get to talk about it because everyone else is doing it (kind of).
One night during winter break in Chicago, as I was running errands on bicycle, I stopped at a red light and decided not to jump ahead of traffic, but take a breather instead.
I slouched for a second and rolled my head around to loosen my neck and let out a deep sigh. My breathe rolled in front of me, in an almost-startling billow. I watched it leave my body and spread toward the traffic lights, suspended in red and yellow, before disappearing. My stomach expanded as I filled my diaphragm with chilly air and…Green light, Alexis.
I kept thinking as I peddled up the incline on Roosevelt. What is inside of me? What is lurking? What is waiting? What is stirring? What it sleeping? What is lovely? What is evil? Whatever it is, none of it was meant to remain just inside me. I want to see it spread outward and either dissipate–defeated at the break of light–or twirl into thoughts and dreams of genuine Love and selfless creativity. Still trying to decide on thoughtful New Year’s resolutions at that point, I decided to just chill and pray and let go of my action 2011 action plan and let the Holy Spirit, ruach, the eternal breath within me, show me where to inhale and exhale.
The last few weeks have been especially redemptive for me. My breathing has been labored or hesitant at some points. At others it has been deep and reviving. My new year so far has caused me to just stop–amidst the battles, amidst the traffic–and just watch the breath that God Himself sighed into me. And I am adoring it.
happy V day.
When I was a little darlin’, I used to host tea parties and invite my sock monkeys, porcelain dolls and action figures. When I sensed a lag in conversation, I would suggest relevant events and topics for discussion: the most recent Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, our upcoming family moves, forest adventures with my brother, etc. Yet even with such riveting subjects, my guests still were not particularly chatty. I wonder if they only came for my sweet-tea filled china cups and Easy-Bake Oven delectables. (Hmm..comparable to some unsociable, starving college kids?? Maybe.)
Anyway, this whole blog thing makes me feel like I am talking to porcelain dolls and action figures again. Only I never felt obligated to talk to them or pour their tea in order to somehow be faithful with my talents (shout out to Dr. Nyquist) or invest in my future… [Sigh of reluctant responsibility] But it seems that “blogging” is completely necessary for the modern-day lover of media and aspiring writer. And if I ever want to be a big kid and have a portfolio that is a little more colorful than my MBI Alumni writing, then WordPress is basically an Easy-Bake writing experience that I would be completely negligent to pass up.
It took a few years of looking into marble eyes for me to get good at serving coffee and cakes. But hey, I have real people to do that with now! So maybe it’s okay that publishing “blogs” makes me feel like I am talking with imaginary friends–at least I have a creative outlet and an audience (be they sock monkeys or forced friends) to start reading the obscene number of unpublished drafts that I have been hoarding.
Anyway. Here I go with a head-start to one of a few New Year’s rezies. If you have a pulse, leave me comments or send me an owl to let me know what my writing makes you think.
Paul K and I graced Warped Tour Chicago with our painfully cool presence. It was my first one ever. My assessment goes like this:
Dislike: I ate popcorn and Laffy Taffy to nourish my body. Later I washed it down with a $6 lemonade.
Like: Having a friend to finish the popcorn and lemonade so i don’t throw up. Thanks Paul!
Dislike: People with backpacks in the mosh pit. Really, fools?
Like: Feeling useful in operation: don’t let the crowdsurfers fall!
Dislike: Mike Poser
Like: There were hardly any Tooth and Nail bands that I would normally be stoked about. Instead we checked out bands that I hadn’t experienced too much of/at all. Good thinkin’.
Dislike: People not being concerned over the injured/ill musicians that they seem to care so much about. Maybe they did pay $40 and put up with NeverShoutNever’s screaming female crowd just to see Sum 41. But yelling “F**k you!” at Kevin Lyman, who I am sure was more bummed than you were? – Jerks.
Like: Bryce Avary’s cheer (and ridiculous talent) and Breathe Electric’s catchy dance parties.
Dislike: F**k at every rest and second-hand smoke from kids.
Like: Running around in a circle like a bunch of hooligans, dancing to We The King’s cover of The Middle.
Here’s their recap:
(Don’t worry, concerned citizens: we were not in Every Time I Die’s crawl of death)
After all of that perfectly weathered, healthy-paced craziness, though, I have to say that I am infinitely inspired. Every under-dressed, over-painted young person I saw reminded me of why I am in Bible school and working with youth. Every piece of literature I saw (especially the ones in need of editing) encouraged me to stay on the Print Media track. And the endless hours I’ve spent reading interviews and watching tour blogs gave me this concern for all of the vagabond band members that I know God will let me work with and do something snazzy with one day. Gaahhh the love. I just wanted to hug every person I saw (except for the guy that purposely cut two layered V-necks all the way down to display his chestpiece, his rib cage and his belly button; Ew. no hugs from me).
Poor Paul. The entire day I was rambling and beaming about all of the crazy ideas I have involving youth, media and music: a concert venue (that offers affordable water) and really loves on their guest bands; kids getting to know the band members and writing about them, being all creative and making their own influence…Oh, and me writing features and reviews that are infinitely inspiring…and, and, and…
Thanks for the day of churnin’ churnin’ youthful dreams, Warped Tour. And for carrying around all of that Willy Wonka candy and jumping around like a crazy fool with me, thanks Paul.