Hakkai

The Shadow of the Blade's Edge

It was raining, the slow, fine ever present rain that goes with a sky occluded by white. The overcast and drizzle were familiar to me, as comfortable and present as my own breath. I was carefully watching the shadow of the edge of a running blade, using the shadow's intersect with its caster as my way of knowing when I'd hit my mark.



I was cutting tile. Huge tiles so heavy it was work to carry two of them anywhere, and I was happily using a power tile cutter, that ran water over the blade to keep it cool enough as it ate its steady way through. John wanted a number of special cuts as the shower he was tiling wasn't the most even thing in the world. It had been finished by hand, and it showed: one wall wasn't exactly square with the other, the curbs weren't vertical, and one wall wasn't quite plumb. So John was fitting in each piece as we got to it, and marking them for me to cut.

The tile cutter is loud, so I wear hearing protection when I use it. I get startled when someone comes up behind me into the garage, but the door is open to the world, too, so I get to see a little old lady walking her dog get startled by me, as I rip through ceramic with power, steel, and speed.

My reflexes aren't bad either, now. When the blade gets caught by the tile, by accident -- the angle was wrong, or I went a little too fast -- my hand automatically flips the OFF switch, without a thought on my part. That's good. Then I can work on untangling things, and not fear the blade as much as most people with good sense might. It amuses me to do this with bare hands, fractions of inches from flying steel.

Life's been a little crazy. So it's good for me sink myself into the moment now and again, and when I work with power tools, when I work with dangerous things, I center again, and come back to just myself and what I'm doing. Life's been letting up on the crazy. Another stage come and gone, and though there are more to go and, as of today, only eight more months, and most of it with less pressure than has been on for the last two, I hope...my chiropractor said that the stress must be letting up as a few of my vertebrae unlocked today. He counted it progress, and I'm grateful if sore.

But working on houses, talking with the people who endured seven feet of water coming into their homes in under half an hour, helping them get their feet back under them and their homes (not just the house) to feel safe and whole again has been good. Though, with the constant rain for the last several weeks, nerves have been on edge again, and peace lost.

It's so odd for me. Rain has always been a comfort for me. I spent a good deal of my childhood in drought-stricken LA, so the rain was always a blessing, and that stood me in good stead when I was in Seattle and we'd have 100 days of measurable rain in a row, and I loved it. After the flood, though, while I don't fear for myself or my home or family, I do feel for all of those that are going through the emotional gamut again with the rain and as the river rises.

Longmont has been great and done extensive work to get the river safe again, and to deal with all the problems that were revealed two years ago. So I think we'll stay safe, but the cities and counties around us didn't have quite the same forethought. Just because it was a 1000 year rain event, two years ago, doesn't meant that climate change hasn't upped the odds, but when your basis is denial of the science (as a few people's are in the most conservative areas) it's hard to prepare for the possibility that it might happen again, and some of the plain towns have flooded again.

And it wears on the nerves in a way that's hard for me to reconcile, sometimes. Though, the other day, as John and I were headed out for something, I looked up at the sky and said, "Why is the sky white?" It was something Jet had said when he was seven, looking up into the marine layer over a Maine sky, and both John and I had laughed back then, thinking, wow, Jet really is a Colorado native. But for Colorado, the sky should be blue.

Flooded Out
Last Friday, after 911, because our Passat was in the garage, I had John drop me off with my bike, and I rode more than seven miles home. Normally it's about 5 miles along the bike paths, but with the river high, quite a bit of it was flooded out, and I had to go around, take detours, cross very busy streets, and do a lot of weaving about to get home.

It was interesting getting the ground view of what was going on.

Planting Tomatoes
I've been busy, though, too, with real life things. My tomatoes are out and being adopted like puppies. I always seed the full packet and when they came up this year, in the pods, there were often multiple plants in each pod. Rather than do the traditional thing and just pinch off the ones that were small in each pod (especially when there were FOUR plants in one), I just ripped all the seedlings apart and put them each in their own pot. And they ALL grew.

John says that I have a green thumb, and I'm not going to deny him. They all grew. I was expecting them to die, but they all came up strong, and in the green house John built for me, they all flourished, so it's now puppy home adoption time, 'cause I can't kill them. *laughs*

One good thing about the rain continuing, though, is that I'm going to be able, for the first time since I've been in Colorado, to go on a trip without the automatic irrigation set, and have a pretty good feeling about the plants surviving the time I'm away.

Pinned OutBelievable BricklessSoul Food Shawl
I also fell in love with these. They're a shawl called "Brickless" and you can find them on Ravelry, but it's really the yarn that got me. I talked about them in the last entry, but the golden one is how "Soul Food" really turned out, and the blue one is "Believable".

It's beautifully smooth and warm, I have to admit, but the Brickless construction is a bit odd to wear... even if it creates beautiful stitch structures and the pattern is so easy I memorized it after one iteration. I managed the first one in just nine days, the second took a bit longer, but I got distracted by pocket prayer shawls. The Prayer Shawl group got interested in them after John brought one home from a national UCC meeting, and I had some fun deconstructing one from the one John brought home. It's in crochet, and while I don't think of myself as a crocheter, it was easy enough to figure out, and I realized that I had a lot of crochet skills ingrained in me after having done a shawl and several blankets' worth of granny squares. *laughs*

The tiny creations of the pocket prayer shawls lends itself well to creativity, i.e. adding beads, messing with the structure, and all that. I made a "recovering perfectionist" square, with only three of four beads in a square (the Trinity leaving room for more...) and since it was handspun, when I ran out of yarn just before the last cluster of double crochets, I just subbed in a purple yarn with silver threads through it as a fill in... mistakes leaving room for mystery, perhaps? It was fun.

Tomorrow, we're off, going to a place a good hour out of Portland in order to celebrate Isabel's 90th birthday with her family, a number of the East Coast cousins are going to make it as well. It should be a blast. Then we'll be home a day to do laundry before running off to New York City for the tour with the musical groups from Jet's middle school and his band teacher, Miss Clanan. It should be amazing, we're signed up for two Broadway musicals, tours of all the places that Have To Be Seen, and John and I are going to do a bit of scouting for when we're going to be able to return on our own terms. In the meantime, we'll use the tour buses, the guides, and the pre-set hotel to their advantage.

I'm going to try and post while I'm traveling, this time, it was a good discipline for me, and let me really digest the days... plus, starting June 1st, I've committed to doing at least a painting a day and posting it on Facebook's OASlife group. That'll be interesting while I'm on the road, but I intend to do Chinese calligraphy while I'm on the road... it's portable and I have pen brushes that should work.

calmingeffects got me out of a painting doldrums by commissioning some work from me, as did someone at church who asked me to paint a purple elephant for an Alzheimer's benefit auction. I've been doing more Western watercolor, and so I did a closeup of an elephant holding a flower, and it was fun to do in spaces and shapes of shadows and all in shades of purple in only the way watercolor can shade. There was a bidding war on it, so my purple elephant did well by the benefit, and I was glad.
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Have a lovely time in Portland, and good luck with the calligraphy! And bravo on the purple elephant.