Today was my aunt’s memorial. She died several months ago of lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking, and it was her wish to be cremated and have her ashes given to the same river that my grandma’s ashes had been scattered in. So we went to the river and had a very simple service for her; just family, the river, and the memory of Auntie. While it was a solemn affair, it was also sweet and not at all depressing. I sat by and listened while her sons and siblings talked about their favorite memories of her, some sad, some sweet, and all remembered with love.
After that, we drove down to Serenbe. It’s a community not far from where we live – maybe a half-hour’s drive – made up of people who wanted a simple, quiet, close-knit life. It’s small and fun and different, and along main street there are shops with the most expen-I mean, adorable and quirky things. There’s a cafe we go to called the Blue-Eyed Daisy, and my favorite stores are Twigs and the Bilt House… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
What I mean to say is, I really enjoyed today. Odd, I know, considering it started out with a memorial service, but I think it was just that kind of slow reflection I needed to start off my day. I noticed all the little things at Serenbe, and to be honest, really and truly enjoyed myself.
(Yes, this picture is relevant. Somehow.)
I savored my peach-flavored Izze. It was the flavor of summer – fizzy, carbonated summer.
I picked apart my macaroon, licking off sticky fingers.
I got used to my chai latte being less sweet than I usually like it, and discovered it was really delicious.
I sat at the table, backwards and downhill, and watched everyone who passed me with interest. It’s fun to note people’s clothes and expressions and listen to their conversations.
I petted two dogs that were saved from the pound; Peyton and Pretzel. Peyton was a German Shepherd mix and Pretzel was a Pit Bull. They were the sweetest things; Peyton was only four months old and I wanted to adopt him. Pretzel had already been adopted and was seven years old, content to just lie on the sidewalk and pant. Peyton finally stopped licking under tables and plopped down with his tail in the bowl of water set out for dogs.
I loved walking through Twigs and marvelling at the graphite carvings you can draw with, sniffing my favorite room-candle ‘Paris’ even though it’s too expensive for me to buy (the smallest is twenty dollars… sigh…), and loving the crooked Alice-in-Wonderland-ish candle holder that I adore.
I loved walking down to the Bilt House on main street with my sister and walking in to its colorful, air-conditioned interior. Everything is outrageously priced, of course, but that makes it no less fun to look at. Fingering clock charms, hand-sewn wallets, and those ugly-adorable handmade dolls. Walking upstairs between picture-coated walls and stopping to read what they all say, and to look at yourself in the various mirrors, and emerging in what looks like Martha Stewart’s kitchen was commandeered by Lewis Carrol and Beatrix Potter.
I bought a book of tear-out notes. It’s lovely. The notes have various pictures and sayings on them in the most artistic of ways, and the notes are scattered around my walls and the rest are saved to tuck into letters and journals.
I loved looking through the little general store, which really isn’t like a general store but more like a tiny Trader Joe’s. I bought a three-pack of eco-friendly pens (that’s right. Eco-friendly pens. Not that I’m anti-green, but…) I go through pens like people with allergies (ahem) go through kleenex. These are pretty and blue and write easily and are only 2.99 for three, so I’m going to buy my pens from Serenbe from now on.
I even managed to get several pages done in Monster – and even though I told you I wouldn’t let you peek at it until June snippets, I changed my mind and decided to give you a teaser paragraph.
I know they’re afraid of me. I can smell the air change in my cell, and I know I’m going to fall asleep and wake up somewhere else. Somewhere I hate. And I know I’ll see the Doctor or bruisers, and I know either way it will hurt. This Doctor, the sweet-smelling one, is nice to look at. Her hair is long and smooth and her eyes are green. I hate her.
I have a brainstorming team in Louisianna, believe it or not; consisting of my honorary second-younger-sister Viv (The Architect) and her brothers Paul (the Weapons Expert) and Louis (the Analyst). They’re cheering me on and provide loads of love, critique, and research for it – you should have heard our teleconference yesterday. I only wish my dad’s work calls were this fun for him.
This whole post may seem to have no point to you, but really it does. Slow down. I tend to live life with a sort of urgency – MustgetnextthingdoneRIGHTNOW!!! – and on those rare occasions when I do slow down, breathe more deeply, and observe the world around me, everything seems sweeter and more colorful.
Try it sometime.