As this project was meant to be contained within that single year, posting here is no longer active. Writing continues, however, at TiaLevings.com, under “Observations”.
May had always been my favorite month in Florida, specifically for days like we’ve had this week. They are warm, not too hot, intense enough for swimming though. The ocean is perfect, clean and temperate, washing us into a new summer. I’m on the porch reading a very funny book that somehow met me at just right time; this would have been a less enjoyable read in the winter. It’s breezy today, the magnolia tree in our front yard is in bloom, the scent heavy enough to be carried.
I’m reading a funny book out on the back porch, at the end of a long, good day. To my ears there are 4 different kinds of birds making sounds, one of them an owl in the oak tree to my right. It’s amazing to me that an owl is out this early. Also, my two youngest boys are bickering so there is that sound as well.
Today was a friendly day spent biking and walking with a favorite friend. Good conversation and also squishy baby cheek kisses and strawberry jam. The whole thing felt very, very blessed.
Yesterday, Mother’s Day, one marked with my babies and a god baby and a grand baby and many mothers. Marked with chocolate and prayers and scrolling pictures. Marked with a carnation on my dress held with a stick pin that stuck me too. Marked with, “Let us do it Mom” so that I had a few moments to sit and relax and notice one of my favorite things: the violet hour of dusk during the warmer months. I know my little suburban corner is ordinary and that my amateur attempts at recording video is shaky and blunt. It is a little childish to even try, not unlike reflective landscapes made with the Big Box of Crayolas. But that jasmine fragrance transforms the yard. I had time to see the birds finish and the bats begin. Blue became violet. Mother’s Day went well.
It all bears marking down.
Today is Bright Monday on the Orthodox calendar, the first day of Bright Week, the first day after Holy Pasca. It is also, from an elemental standpoint, a very bright, crisp morning, with everything invigorated, sharply in focus. The air has the scent I remember from childhood in the north Michigan woods- of spring and melting snow mingled with black, earthy mud. In the Upper Peninsula, it is the kind of day when one goes hunting for mushrooms. Of course, this is north Florida, and the temperature is mild. There never has been, nor ever will be, melting snow on a May day in Florida. But there’s that edge that calls for sleeves and enough morning breeze to tease the branches on the Magnolia tree out front. The sun is white and still slanted but it too is bright. It’s making dappled shade, my favorite kind of sunny day.
I think today will be good.
Today is Holy Friday on the Orthodox calendar; last night we marked the Passion. Today is a full slate of observances, vesperal prayer services, lamentations…as well as the work of Pasca bread baking, basket preparation, vibrant red egg dyeing, and myriad other things on “mom’s list”. This is the first Pasca since my conversion that we’ve had rain. The sky has released so much water that the pond is high and overflowing the street on one end and it’s half way up our driveway in the front. If the forecast is correct, “mom’s list” may need to adjust to a contingency plan.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the married disciplines of observance and recordance are simply more difficult in the Spring, and it’s too much to do them both at the same time. Spring is a covetous, jealous lover that clutches at the attentions of every one and every thing, a siren that intoxicates us with color and flower dust and the freshness of air too full of light and oxygen to contain. Spring reaches for us; grabbing, blowing, singing, piercing. There is all this violent shooting up through the black earth and rain that doesn’t just fall: it pours down heavy, with force. Before the last drops have fallen the wind is already building into gusts. I suppose this is meant to dry the puddles and save Mother’s potato rows and daffodils from rotting; I like it in my hair. The blows tug on kite strings and bend new branches over in swags.
That wind may come in howls of cold winter remnants. It may also come in hot, dry, untimely cylindrical storms. One day the blue black waves of the river seem ominous and choppy; another day they beckon for little sailboats with happy laps. On driving across the big bridge and noticing the tension of the sky and water and all their blues, I can’t then sit and write it all down. It’s too much. (The yogi says, “Sigh! Haaaah!”) There aren’t words for that, not in the moment.
The shades of Springtime Green pulse in rhythm; they actually seem to throb. “Throb” is an awkward word, one that earned me a teacher’s red line on a fictional story a long time ago, but it’s certainly apt in Spring. A lot of things throb in the heady, fertile months between Winter and Summer, between sleep and awake. Ideas, too: flagrant and neon and exciting.
Let the other seasons be for recording, meditative dark times full of sentimental contemplation. Spring is new. There is too much being born to stop.