I subscribe to Alisha Sommer's blog, and she sends out the most beautiful emails. A few weeks ago, she mentioned a conversation she listened to between Krista Tippet and poet, Marie Howe, in which Marie said she challenges her students to list 10 observations each day without using metaphor. Marie said the exercise forces them to see. Alisha has been doing the exercises for weeks now, and I so loved reading hers, that I started making my own. It has helped me to slow down, to be more present, to be more alive. My first week of observations are below.
1. There are ink splotches on the quilt. A writer slept here once.
2. The fog is a blanket around the house, a moat made of air and water.
3. Vermont. Maple. Syrup.
4. The fog has rolled away like it was never there. All you see is trees.
5. There are no curtains in this house. There is no separation between the inside and the outside.
6. I can taste the sunshine in these raspberries.
7. Outside the skylight looks more like a painting than real sky.
8. Tonight's salad was green and red and yellow. The colors were all so vibrant, I felt like I was eating a rainbow.
9. The way our bodies curve and make space for the other, without either of us having to say a word.
10. The gentle jingle of my bangles.
1. Each room has been carefully and lovingly designed, but no matter what may or may not be in the room, there are always books.
2. I had forgotten how much I like to take my time.
3. Even when it is cloudy, it is still beautiful.
4. He is always taking care of me.
5. It is funny how much of a novelty a landline is to them.
6. Everything is so green.
7. A fly is trapped in the house. The house is quiet and still so the buzzing sound seems extra loud.
8. The sun coming out makes it feel like a different day.
9. I saw a hummingbird up close and it instantly put a smile on my face.
10. Lightning flashed and it was so bright, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.
1. We are settling into this country life. Even the cat seems to have adopted us.
2. The sun is shining this morning. The house looks a little different bathed in its light.
3. I am torn between wanting to document everything and just wanting to experience it and let my memory be enough.
4. Isn't it enough that I see it? That I am living it? Why do I feel compelled to take pieces of it with me? What makes me want to share them?
5. You can always strike a balance.
6. Quiet means something different here.
7. I think Virginia Woolf was mostly right. A woman may not need a room of her own to write fiction, but it certainly makes writing a LOT easier.
8. I have not hurried while we've been here, but everything gets accomplished.
9. I could watch the same movie a million times curled up beside him.
10. Buttery, flaky, pastry, filling in just the right balance of sweet and tart. Delicious.
1. I haven't turned on any music or podcasts since we've been here. I've just been listening to the peace and quiet.
2. My bones are shifting. My body is settling in.
3. Pregnancy feels quick and slow in cycles.
4. Vermont feels like a different country to the littles.
5. I am still amazed by how tired I can be after doing what feels like not much at all, though I suppose when I consider that at all times of the day I am making a human, no matter what else happens, I am doing a lot.
6. I don't think I've ever seen a city this green.
7. That little white house that you can barely see above the treetops has been our home away from home.
8. The five os us all sitting at the dinner table together is one of my favorite things.
9. We are teaching our children to embrace new experiences and new ways of being.
10. I love being with him more than I love sleep.
1. I have been spending a lot of time inside my head this week. Speaking less. Thinking more.
2. When I am feeling irritable, I notice it most in my chest and my stomach.
3. "Are you angry, or frustrated, or irritated?" He knows me so well. Such emotional intelligence for someone so young.
4. Sweeping feels like equal parts meditation and stress relief in a way that vacuuming does not.
5. I like having a schedule or a plan. Not having one makes me antsy.
6. I never imagined I would have such delicious southern food in Vermont.
7. Every time I think my belly can't possibly get any bigger, that I can't stretch anymore, I do. Perhaps this is a metaphor for life.
8. We are efficient packers.
9. I live for his commentary on all the things. He makes me laugh so hard.
10. The temperature of my feet determines the temperature of the rest of my body.
1. It is harder to be observant when you're not feeling well.
2. The mind is incredibly powerful.
3. The further north you are the greener it gets. I wonder what happens when you go south.
4. Sunsets are beautiful. Always.
5. We can talk for hours.
6. The closer we get to home, the easier it is to breathe.
7. After being away for a week our house smells foreign to me.
8. The baby seems annoyed that I am moving so much so late at night.
9. There are cicadas here. We didn't hear them in Vermont.
10. This daily recording of ten has become a habit for me. It would have felt weird not to finish them.
1. Oatmeal is the ultimate comfort food.
2. A good breakfast makes the day feel brand new. It allows you to see everything with fresh eyes.
3. The look on his face when he drinks seltzer water. Be still my heart.
4. I was never quite this relaxed while we were away. How does my body know we're home?
5. Rainbows caught inside of bubbles.
6. I've brought some of the peace from Vermont home with me.
7. I'm having a very optimistic day. Everything seems possible.
8. Every day when I step in front of the mirror, it feels like an optical illusion. Some days I feel like I'm not that big, other days I feel huge.
9. White is one of my favorite colors on him.
10. Patience must be practiced, like gratitude and self love.