Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Journey

The water is dark, deep, and silent. Be careful picking your way to the boat in the starlight. The sky is overcast, and the waves have died. It's getting chilly; here, let me warm you. The stream looks harmless at your feet, but it has taken many already. I know we have to part soon; but till then, give me your hand. Remember what I told you about the currents and other dangers. You have to make your own mistakes, but never forget, I will be there to hold you if you fall. As you row away, I will be the stars twinkling in the water, the water lapping at your oars, the oars guiding you through life. I will be the wind in your hair, the hair in your eyes, the eyes in your heart. And when all is done, when all your cards have been dealt and played and homecoming tugs at your days, I will wait here to bring you ashore on a future fragrant summer night.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Secret Santa!

I came in to work today to find my desk totally transformed with decorative ornaments, a strategically placed Santa hat, and a Whack and Unwrap milk chocolate orange sitting next to my monitor. This doesn't normally happen every single day, but we are having a lot of surreptitious present-giving going on in the office throughout this week, building up to the actual Secret Santa gift exchange tomorrow for our holiday party. So I made a little thank you note for my anonymous benefactor saying My Secret Santa is the Best. Except I used what I thought would be this really cool font which made it say something just a little different, making Natalie laugh so hard that her contact lens actually popped out.

And I used to think that only happened in movies!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bittersweet, Redux

So here are some more of my favorite bittersweet experiences, honoring a request in response to my previous post. Caveat: this is completely random and off the top of my head; I make no claims to be definitive.

Wong Kar-wai's Fallen Angels, Happy Together, and In the Mood for Love
Walter Salles' Central do Brasil (Central Station)
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George

This is almost certainly a list in progress, and I will try to keep adding to it. Suggestions are always welcome, and will be deeply appreciated.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


We were discussing Wong Kar Wai's movies the other day when the word bittersweet was mentioned, and I realized that this was a common theme that characterized many of my favorite works of art (and was even my favorite kind of chocolate). That everything comes to an end is both the best and worst thing about life, and the promise of the future is forever tinged with the pain of having to let go of the past. The life we make is only one of all that could have been, and that is precisely what makes it both worthwhile and heartbreaking. Like this final passage from Winnie-the-Pooh (in which Christopher Robin and Pooh come to an Enchanted Place and we leave them there), one that is particularly close to my heart.

Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out "Pooh!"
"Yes?" said Pooh.
"When I'm - when - Pooh!"
"Yes, Christopher Robin?"

"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."
"Never again?"
"Well, not so much. They don't let you."
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
"Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully.
"Pooh, when I'm - you know - when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"
"Just Me?"
"Yes, Pooh."
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
"Thats good," said Pooh.
"Pooh, promise you wont forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little.
"How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded.
"I promise," he said.
Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt Pooh's paw.
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I - if I'm not quite -" he stopped and tried again - "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?"
"Understand what?"
"Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped to his feet. "Come on!"
"Where?" said Pooh.
"Anywhere," said Christopher Robin.

So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

To A Sleeping Lover

I think you hate me a little less when you are asleep. You are more relaxed, the lines of slumber combine with the half smile on your face, and I have to control my desire so much that I lose track of my own tiredness. I know you are back in some other time and some other place. I try to imagine your past like it is last night's forgotten dream. I long to walk in your memories and protect you from all the heartbreaks and pain, collecting every shard of sorrow before it reaches you. They say no two snowflakes are alike; you too were a different person with each of your lovers. I look at you and see a multitude, love collects in my breast like milk. I rock to the rhythm of your breath. One life is never enough.