Saturday, May 31, 2014

What are men to rocks and mountains?

This week I climbed rocks,
and this week I climbed mountains.

And I cried both times.

For the past two years or more,
I've had an irrational fear
of rock climbing--

even though
back at Girls' Camp,
I was way into it.

I took harness selfies
before selfies were a thing.

(Because wearing a harness
is obvs the best part.)

But I went to the climbing gym this week,
and I did it.
I grabbed the grips
that looked like baby heads
and made it to the top.

And when I got down,
I teared up,
because there's nothing greater
than doing something you're scared of
and realizing that you actually like it.

Then I went on a hike,
and I adventured up
past where I normally would
to where I could see this.

I cried lots of tears
because I had never imagined
ever seeing anything that beautiful
in my life,
and there I was in it.

Genevieve and I sang hymns of nature,
because views that beautiful deserve
and prayers
and songs
and tears
to describe them.

Levels 40 & 41 achieved.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Favorite Game.

Today was Claire's birthday.
She's a beautiful person,
so of course
we had a tea party in her front yard.

When we all naturally gathered
in a circle,
I started a round of my favorite game:
What's your favorite thing about
the birthday girl?

It's not really a game.
It's just people saying
nice things about you
on your birthday.

I love to hear
everyone's different answers.
The result is a mosaic
of what that person
means to everyone in her life.
The space you have in your heart
to love that person
gets crammed with
everyone else's love,
and so it gets a little bigger.

And with the sun
starting to think about setting,
the perfect temperature,
pleasant people
in the chairs next to me,
the crown of flowers
on Claire's head,
and a Louis Armstrong album
playing faintly from a record player
on the porch,
I can't picture a single moment nicer.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Once I wrote a blog post
about whether I was
Lizzie or Jane,
and determined that I was Emma.

But really I'm Marianne.

As in,
one of my pet peeves
is people who read out loud
in a monotone.

"Edward is very amiable.
But there is something wanting.
He's too sedate.
His reading last night..."

The earth is really actually round.

Today, we slacklined
between two trees
at the edge of a big field
next to a church.

I'm sure you won't blame me
when I tell you
that I took off across the field,
and skipping
and jumping
and flailing my arms
and kicking the white things
off of dandelions.

Then I spun and spun,
watching the sunset
kaleidoscope around me,
in blues and purples and pinks,
dappled with clouds,
until finally 
I threw myself down on the ground
and laughed at the sky
that still seemed to be moving
back and forth
like the eyes
of someone speed reading.

When it stilled,
I noticed that the edges of the horizon
in every direction
curved around me--
a great circle
with my little body
at its center,
no matter where
in that green grass
I should choose to lie.

And I thought,
"The earth is really actually round.
I believed it before,
I guess,
but now I really, really know."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Finest lace there is."

Today, when I came home from work,
I had the strong urge
to run through my neighbor's sprinklers.

I made
the first smoothie of the year.

Even though I put in too much spinach,
it tasted like every gorgeous morning
of the past two summers.

I listened to my roommate talk,
and I considered how inherently interesting
people's lives are.

Then we went to a sandwich shop,
where I asked for a half order 
of garlic bread sticks,
and got an entire take-home box of manna.

We sat for ages
after we were done eating,
and told interesting things about ourselves
as children.

When we got home,
I decided I couldn't live another day
without rereading Dandelion Wine.

So I walked to my friends' house
to borrow it from them.
We had the most pleasant chat
and I considered how nice it is
to inherently like people.

I ended up on the wrong street
and got a glimpse of little naked two-year-old boy
as he was shutting his front door,
and that made me laugh.

When I got back,
I sat on my front porch reading,
but I felt like I could have been
in a nave or a temple.

No one would have been able to convince me
that his weaving of images over words
or of words into images
(I wasn't sure which)
was anything less than
worshiping the great Creator.

When I went to scripture study,
I could still felt pings of electricity
flying around my chest
like a bombardment of alpha particles.

I talked to someone
that I inherently enjoy being around.

And even now,
the sound of my roommate
picking up a leaf of paper
and putting it down again
is enough to almost bring
tears to my eyes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Talking to Strangers.

Guys, something's been troubling me.

Talking to strangers:

Seriously, how does it work?

On the bus,
when a high school girl gets on
and starts chatting amiably
with the sixty-year-old driver.

At an intramural frisbee game,
when one of the players' roommates
starts joking raucously
with the fans for the other team.

In an airport,
when a grizzly biker
and a buttoned-up businessman
start shoptalking
about classic cars.


How does it work?

In every one of those situations I mentioned,
I watched in awe, almost transfixed.

I literally don't know how
you start talking to the bus driver
or someone in an airport.

I can't imagine a situation in life
where I would really feel the need
to do that.

It seems to take a level head
and dose of social panache,
but also comes with
a level of vulnerability that,
I'm not comfortable with.

You have to go into it
confident that the stranger
will want to hear what you're saying.
(Unless, of course,
you don't really care about whether they do.)

I can't say that I have that optimism.

I remember a conversation
my boss and I had
a few months ago
about how I'm not very friendly.

Don't get me wrong.
If you read this blog,
you know that I love people.
I really do.

And I love talking to other people.

But when it comes to talking to strangers,
I ask, "Why would I?"
when a lot of other people
just ask themselves, "Why not?"

I'd just rather talk to the internet, I guess.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

She's not Polynesian; she's Finnish.

This here is Erin.

Besides talking to birds,
she is always making things beautiful.

Her fingernails, for instance.

And it's because of an exquisite meal
she made for dinner group last year
that I  now like brussels sprouts.

She listens to me talk
all the time.
For so long.

She tells me when I'm being dumb
and should be kinder to myself.

And she'll do anything with me
that I think sounds fun.

I remember when I was newly obsessed with
and I took her to a show with me.

Even though I remember her
not liking it that much,
I saw the ticket stub
on the wall of her bedroom
half a year later.

I can't count how many times
I've heard her offer
to accompany someone to the doctor
or to take their car to get fixed.
Just so they don't have to do it alone.

She wants to be a good friend to people,
she wants to be a contributing member
of any group of people she's a part of,
and she wants to be a better version
of herself.

And she's all those things.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 9.

May 9 was the six-year anniversary
of my taking the AP US History exam.

I'll never forget that date
for as long as I live.

It also happened to be
my one year anniversary
of working at UVU.

I have loved every minute of it,
minus student government elections week
when there were

I love that it used to be a vocational school,
that the architecture is hideous,
that all the buildings are connected
so you can get anywhere without going outside.

That when you do go outside,
the view of the mountains
and the lake
is incredible.

I love that the new UVUSA meeting room
looks like the Jedi Council chamber.

That it's sometimes impossible
to distinguish between
the professors and the students.

That the university president
stood in the hall
on the first day of school
and said hi to everyone.

That there's a stuffed wolverine
by the entrance.
That once upon a time,
someone in the hall
handed me a wolverine temporary tattoo
for no reason.

I could go on and on.

It's a great place.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


There I was,
just a girl with a dream
of going to the Tulip Festival
at Thanksgiving Point.

And every spring
came and went
and it never seemed to work out.
Then Kaitlin said,
"I'm running a half marathon.
You run it too!"

And I said,
"Cool. Yeah.
It's at Thanksgiving Point.
I'll see the tulips.
It will be beautiful."
Two and a half months later,
the day came.

It was supposed to rain,
but I said,
"It doesn't really rain in Utah.
It'll drizzle
and then be fine."

So I wore shorts.

At the starting line,
I saw everyone in ponchos
and thought,
"What's with those people?
We're not going to get wet."
By mile three,
I was soaked.

"It's fine,"
I thought.
"This is great."
Then the course wove
through the gardens.

Tulip time!

I was expecting

But it was like

That's basically all the tulips there were.
The rest of the race
was bitter death.

it didn't stop raining
the. entire. time.

I hobbled through the finish line.

I got a medal.

I took a selfie.

you lived through hell.
A week later,
I was riding the train to Salt Lake.

When we stopped at Lehi Station,
I looked out the window at Thanksgiving Point
and felt

that was a lot more traumatic
than I realized.

I may never be able
to look at a tulip again.