Friday, September 27, 2013

Inside the Book.

There's something special
about reading your friends' favorite books--
just because they're their favorites.

When you're reading,
you're not alone:
They're there inside the book with you.

It's like comparing apples and peaches.

It's Fall, guys.

I'd done my ritual,
and I'd officially accepted it.
Coat, socks, rain.

But last night at Sprouts,
there was a big ugly empty spot
where the yellow peaches
were supposed to be.

Genevieve asked them to check.
And the handsome clerk came back and said,
"I'm sorry.
That was the last of them."

It felt like a sentence of death.
I got tears in my eyes.

I don't know what my deal is.
This is the twenty-third time
that this earth has shed summer
and put on autumn
since I got here.
But this time I'm taking it hard.

There's beauty to it, of course.
I feel like I can see God
in the snow on the mountaintops,
in the inexorable change of the seasons.

And even though they didn't have peaches,
Sprouts had pallets and pallets
of honeycrisp apples.
On sale.

When I got home,
I hugged my bag of apples
and smelled them
and cried again.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Last Rose of Summer.

Today is the equinox,
the first day of autumn.

From now on,
there will be no more fresh peaches,
no more sandal tan lines
on the tops of my feet,
no more mosquito bites
on the back of my legs
from lingering in the warm dusk.

For a few weeks it's been coming,
but I couldn't let summer

Now, though, the alignment of the planets
has forced me to accept it.

So last night,
Genevieve and I created our own ritual
to bid farewell to summer.
I can accept these things better
when there's a formal
changing of the guard.

We put on long floral dresses
and walked the stream path at night,
gathering flowers and plants,
and weaving them into wreaths.

Russian olive,
and the last roses of summer.

We sang hymns about nature,
and quoted poems and scriptures:

Nature's first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leafs a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 

I woke up and it was autumn.
I was glad to see that it was raining.
I put on boots
and listened to the appropriate movement
of Vivaldi's Four Seasons
and ate oatmeal for breakfast.

Farewell, summer.
Until next year.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'd like to spend an hour or two with you.

(I know I'm idealistic,
but bear with me.)

This is how I view dates:

A boy calls you up
and says,
I'd like to spend an hour or two with you--
just us.
I've been wanting some dedicated time
to appreciate everything about you
worth appreciating."

And you say,
"Yes! I'd love that.
I'd love the chance
to appreciate everything about you
worth appreciating."

A date isn't necessarily about being in love,
but it is about love.

The real kind.

I don't have a good experience
if I spend the whole time asking myself
Am I having fun?
Does he think I'm funny?
Am I proud to be seen with him?

But if I notice
his laugh next to me in the movie theater,
his hand gestures while he drives,
the reverent way he says my name,
the glimmer when he talks about the things he loves,
I have a better time.

I like when
an hour or two of
doing some activity or another
becomes a holy experience,
because I get to bask in the grandeur
of another human being.

you get a call out of the blue
from a boy who is very easy to appreciate.
And then the smile on your face
when you tell him yes
is real and unsuppressible,
because you know that an evening appreciating him
is going to be a delight.

And that is the best.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

There's a certain slant of light.

My favorite time of day
is when the sun is about to set,
and the slant of light
lands just so on the mountains.

And then they are lit up golden brown
and reddish,
and every crack
and crevice
and corner
draws its own long shadows
on the glowing rock face.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I think sandals should be worn
until you're going to get frostbite
walking from the curb to the door.

Today, I was shortsighted enough
to wear socks & boots
just because
it was raining when I left the house.

Thirty minutes later,
it had cleared up
and warmed up.

And I was the loser
who had to wear socks

Sunday, September 15, 2013

God Grew Tired of Us.

This week at International Cinema,
I saw
God Grew Tired of Us,
a documentary about Sudanese refugees
and their new life in America.

It was made in this century,
but these boys coming to the U.S.
had never even used electricity.

They had fled as children
and grown into men
in exile.

And it made me wonder,
which is worse?

Staying in a refugee camp
with your friends and brethren,
with little to eat
and not much prospect of a future?

Or coming to the U.S.
and working long hours
at thankless jobs
and spending precious little time each day
with the people you love?

I don't think
there's an easy answer for that.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Donna Reed was not a cannibal.

Ian, what part of Grantsville did you grow up in?

Do you know where the Donna Reed museum is?

There's a Donna Reed museum in Grantsville?
(Cracking up.)

I don't know.
Why is that there?

(Still cracking up so hard.)

Everyone else:
(Giving me funny looks.)

Wait, who's Donna Reed?

She was an actress in the fifties.

Nolan & Ian:
(Looking confused.)

Wasn't she?

Not Donna Reed!

We were wondering why you were laughing so hard.

that's not quite as funny,
is it?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Newlywed Blog.

The main thing I'm looking for
in a man

is a last name
that I can make a good pun with

for the title
of our newlywed blog.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I was sitting in the UVU Writing Center,
and all at once I noticed

that in front of me,
a shaggy boy was reciting
original slam poetry
to two obliging listeners, 

and next to me,
a ESL tutor and two students
were conversing on light topics
in pleasant, polite broken English.

It was the most absurd combination.
And I sat and laughed
because life is nonsense.

(Hugo Ball's nonsensical poem Karawane
and what he wore to perform it.
One day I want to have a cultural pageant
and dress up like this
and recite it.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Artist.

As part of my post-grad education,
I've decided to try and attend
every week.

Last night,
I saw The Artist.

It was beautiful.

A silent movie
about silent movies,
made in 2011.

The form was perfect
for looking at the interaction
of speaking and silence.

I liked how hard I had to concentrate on it.
Turns out this nearly century old art form,
tossed aside so quickly to make way for "talkies,"
is powerful enough to keep us from multitasking 
while we watch it.

No Goats, No Glory.

Yesterday was my first state fair.
Thanks to Utah
for being a state
and for letting me come.

We watched the sheep judging
and a lumberjack competition.

We looked at cows and swine and rabbits
and goats.

This is me at the county fair last year.

There was a big sign that said

And I realized how much I love goats.
They're right up there with quails.

The best part was the creative arts,
seeing the woodwork
and leatherwork
and quilts
and little Christmas decorations
that people had made.

Some of the stuff
honestly looked so strange,
was so small and homely.

And I shed a tear,
thinking of the earnest people
who spent hours making these things
and cared about them enough
to enter them in the fair.

It was a great display
of American tradition
and of the human spirit.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Walking in the Same Direction.

Let's say
you're walking down the hall at school
and you see someone you know
coming the other way.

What happens?

1. You ignore them.

2. You try to say hi,
but they don't hear you.

3. You both say hi
and keep walking.

4. You both stop and talk.

5. Oh blessed number five.

You see each other and say hi
and you keep walking,
but the other person does an about face
and walks in the opposite direction
so they can talk to you.

How humble of them,
to not be deterred by the fact
that you weren't going to stop.

There's nothing like that
to make you feel like
you're worthwhile.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day.

If you read the things I write,
you'll know that I love history.

I love to think about people of the past
and what they did to make sense of their lives.
I like to see how similar we are,
and to remember how the things I have
are because of what they did.

Today is Labor Day,
a holiday I've never really thought about before.

But picture those gritty, dirty factory workers,
beat down from laboring around the clock.

This was the land of promise,
and America wasn't delivering,
as it sometimes doesn't.

So they fought back,
with that ironclad strength
that rises up through weariness.

They formed unions
and went on strike,
and said,
"I will not stand for this."

And people listened.

A hundred years later,
I spent my childhood watching television,
not languishing in soot.

Once a year,
I get a day off just because of what they did.

And I will never live through
what they lived through,
because they bore the burden of that
for me.

But I can listen to their songs
and think about them singin 'em.

In the heart of the fight,
this kind of thing must have made them feel strong.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

What is my reason for being happy today?

We have a quote on the back of our front door.
What is my reason for being happy today?

Sometimes I see that and hate it.
Sometimes I don't.

Here's what made me happiest today:

1. The print of my new skirt,
and the fact that I got to stare at it
every time I sat down.

It is seriously so beautiful
it makes me want to weep.

This is it.

2. Turkey Hill ice cream,
imported straight from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,
was on sale at Smith's yesterday!

Who knew that was even possible?

I bought Fudge Ripple,
and it tastes exactly like my childhood.

3. Meeting a girl who just did an internship
at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library,
and whose dream is to work at the Nixon library.

New best friend?

4. Roommates.
One who feels like my little sister,
one who is exceptionally good at reading
Lord of the Rings out loud,
one who I just met and love,
one who knows the songs of my heart.

And old roommates
who are still part of the family.

And friends who come over 
and feel like roommates.

5. Let's be honest,
Jesus Christ is my reason for being happy
any day.