Twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I set up at the Vermont Farmers Food Center as part of the Vermont Farmers Market, my one and only closest thing I have for a job. It’s been a physically challenging many months and a lonely many years and some of the time I am intensely grateful that I still have at least these bare minimum occasions I am required to appear in public and engage with human beings. Some of the time, even this light obligation proves an intolerable burden. This sparkly little paper heart is pinned to the balcony overlooking the vast space of the Center, sometimes filled to the brim with lively heartfelt social activity among neighbors, friends and colleagues, sometimes host to much smaller quieter gatherings, seeming that much emptier for the memory of what it’s like at full capacity. I can relate.
I told you Henry would be showing up more than once in this collection. This week a new couch arrived, my first such purchase in a long time, and a sort of symbol to me of living like a functioning adult – at least in terms of home décor. I last bought a new couch in 2002, the last time I transitioned from a one room apartment to a grownup home. That couch stayed with me through many changes and was left behind when I once again landed in a living space more suited to an undergraduate student. Now I once again have the ability to invite guests to my home and not seat them on the bed or the floor. That said, the most likely occupants of Big Gray, as I have named my new couch, are me and Henry, seen here already claiming his territory.
On the second day of Big Gray joining my small collection of things I love – animate and inanimate – the tassles of the new throw I gave to my new couch proved that the feeling is mutual.
I got a new tattoo this past weekend – another thing I love. I took a train – which already makes it a great day - to and from a convention in Saratoga, where I was able to observe many of my tribe gathered in one place. In fact, the tattoo community is becoming so large and mainstream, with artists who are dedicated professionals and walking artworks who also lead responsible fulfilling lives, it’s hard to think of us as the misfit outcast rebel freaks we once were. We’re still far from normal, don’t get me wrong. Right after wrapping up the tattoo I did receive, I started browsing a wonderful book featuring images from turn of the century inkmasters who pretty much defined the American traditional aesthetic for tattoos, down on the Lower East Side of my home town before I was born. Because only a tattoo freak starts planning the next one before the ink is dry on the last one.
The day I went to Saratoga, it snowed. The next day, it – this. My love affair arrangement with my new couch allows for my other one true love, my deck, to share without resentment my attention and murmurings of sweet nothings. This photo of Henry and me enjoying the spring sunshine was taken without the use of my hands. With a cellphone that has no timer mechanism. I will not reveal how it was done. Except, magic.
And sometimes you hold a cucumber slice up to the light and also - magic. There was other less happy magic on the day I took this photo, as temperatures soared to near 80 and my ambitions plummeted accordingly. Big Gray was happy to oblige as the setting for most of Monday.
And now it’s Tuesday again. The moon was beautifully full last night and I was awake several times to check on its progress in a dark cloudless sky. This morning skies are hazy and the sun blindingly bright. I have a new tattoo of a tall ship on the high seas sailing and healing on my torso, and a new couch making my house a haven, retreat, and well, a home. It’s been a busy week, and a lazy week, at times feeling very nearly like my old self, or at least able to understudy that role and not have the disappointed audience storm out of the theater asking for their money back. Today I will be out in the world, then tonight back in my own world. Both of these worlds seem to be less bleak and uncomfortable lately, but who knows? As I write this the clouds are already hovering in the distance. And the forecast calls for yet another abrupt major weather change. But when it can be snowing and 30 one day, and 80 and sunny the next, there is no such thing as counting on anything. Good thing I’ve got that down.