Spring forward.

Tonight, just now, was one of my most favorite times of day. Not just sunset; a particular type of sunset: A pre-storm, partly cloudy sunset. When everything seems a little bit lit from within. It feels like living on a movie set for a few minutes. Someone has turned a dial on the light board to juuuuuuust right. Just for a little while.

So¬†I went for a walk. Purposefully not wearing¬†headphones. Just a hoodie and a healthy amount of open-minded curiosity. “What’s up, neighborhood? On this 27th day of March, Year of Our Lord 2014? Got anything¬†to show me today?”

Yes, said the neighborhood. Yes I do.
A cat eyes me from the darkness between parted curtains.
A light shines through a naked, narrow basement window.
An antique pair of ice skates hang on display beside a front door.
And the birds. All of the birds. More birds than people out on my block tonight. I have to wonder how far they flew to get here. How far they still have to go.

Feeling a lot of that tonight: wonder. Reminded just how rich and full of detail even my own day-to-day whereabouts can be, if I slow down enough to pay attention. On any given night, I might notice the cat or the light or the skates or the birds, but it felt good to try to notice them for once.

Spring forward.

On an evening that’s so unnaturally bright, it’s hard not to feel naturally hopeful. This year in particular, the coming of spring has signaled a renewing of hope to me. An end to this shitty winter. (Even my psychiatrist described¬†it with those exact words. You heard it here first, folks: This winter got a doctor’s note and the verdict is: SHITTY.) It’s nice to be reminded by¬†the shifting seasons that nothing, nothing, nothing lasts forever.¬†The good times pass, so enjoy them. The shitty times pass, too, so¬†try not to let¬†them grind you down.

I half-remember something my yoga teacher used to say:¬†“Because I am so rarely there, the most exotic place on Earth¬†is where I am right now.”¬†Tonight I’m taking time to notice and appreciate exactly where I am, right now. I’m in my¬†go-on-walks-alone-just-because-I-can season.¬†My oh-yeah!-I-live-in-my-favorite-neighborhood-in-town season. My remembering-to-take-time-to-soak-it-up¬†season.

Decidedly un-shitty.

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(Holy shit wow.)

Doing a little sprucing up around the homestead. Spring cleaning and all. I even sorted through my bookshelf (it’s true) and made a little give-away pile (remain calm).

Flipping through one, I found a pencil-scribbled note from 04/23/12 on the back page. Almost a year ago. I’d just gotten back from a trip to Memphis. A really great weekend with friends and family. A wedding I’d been looking forward to for…years.

So it’s only natural I was experiencing the “post-birthday party” letdown feelings. But I see something beyond the general gloominess that follows a fun vacation. I see restlessness here that I’m glad to report has settled. I think. For now.

Perfect not-cold sweater weather outside. Sun setting. Everything green. I try to look at my surroundings with fresh eyes. What if this were my vacation spot? My refuge or escape? I’d think it was beautiful. Breeze. Birds. Sunshine. Trees. Peace.

How can I bring vacation-me home and let her roam around my everyday life? She’s so hopeful and happy. So eager and open to good. Creative and relaxed. Energized. Her eyes want to notice things. Her eyes want things. Her body craves movement. Her mind needs food. She sees possibility. People like her and think she’s fine.

Post-birthday-party-me clearly saw vacation-me as the type of person she wanted to be. “Her eyes want things.” I underlined that word…and I think I know why. When I’m feeling stuck, I can lose my ability to want things. Drive, desire, chutzpah — what have you. But there are moments when I can get it back: in a new place, with an old friend, at a movie or in a book. Hell, sometimes a particularly good snack can transport me to a better place. You never know.

Book scribbles

Later that night, Ben Rattray (founder of change.org) was on the Daily Show, and I scribbled some more notes in the back of that same book. (Nice pre-loaded blog post fodder, last-year-me!)

“Putting your efforts and life’s work into making the change you need in yourself.” (paraphrase)

(Holy shit wow.)

Ben Rattray — 1st attempt FAILED.

These scribbles are a little more cryptic.¬†But, thanks to the internet, I found a clip of the episode. And here’s what he actually said.

The paraphrased scribble was from Jon Stewart, actually, and I got pretty close: “Incredible story. Putting your efforts and your life’s work behind the change you wanted to make in your own being.”

In other words, hey lackluster SJ, you know this hopeful & happy, creative & energized person exists. But you’re having trouble tracking her down. In the meantime, what can you do to make your world a more hopeful, happy, creative, energized place? Do those things. She’ll come back.¬†

The idea sounds absurdly simplistic when I spell it out like that, and I’m also not sure I’m completely articulating my point…it’s bouncing around in my brain, but I can’t quite reel it in.

If you have six minutes to spare, watch Rattray’s full interview. If not, just take his final words:

The power that people have to make a difference right now, with social media, is far greater than ever before. and if you identify an issue you care passionately about […] you have a greater chance of success than you can possibly imagine.

(Holy shit wow.)

sweet lovers love the spring

If the chirping birdies, frolicking bunnies, green grass & cheerful crocuses outside weren’t enough to let you know, even today’s Google Doodle was dedicated to the first day of SPRING! It’s here, everyone. Dust off those bonnets.

To celebrate, I’m dedicating this post to one of my favorite Willy Wonka moments:

Man I love spring. Bright colored clothes, warmer running weather, more daylight, EASTER CANDY, YOU GUYS… All this goodness symbolizes the end of winter & the start of something new. Poets since the beginning of language have pointed out this nifty fact. And I think it’s nice. That’s all.

>>>

ps– Another favorite Willy Wonka moment just happens to be happening right now (this very minute!) thanks to the magic of the internet and the unavoidableness of memes. (Seriously, they are everywhere. I found one in my shoe the other day…)
I just can’t get enough of this one: Condescending Wonka.

Close-to-home Wonka