"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment... and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn." -Thoreau

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tacos and Kings

There's something delightful about summer.

I love long, warm evenings of golden light and contentment... I love frolicking without thought of jackets or sweaters... I love the feel of floating through perfect warmth.

I think home and summer have become mentally intertwined since venturing off to a land of seasons and cornfields. Christmas felt strangely (wrongly) summer-esque after leaving a home of snowy whiteness in favor of a home of mild-climated "pompous palm trees" (as Brynna terms them).
But summer fits home (real home) perfectly.
Driving down PCH with gorgeous, dramatic, coastline views can only make my lips smile proudly and my heart delight in the beauty of home; catching a glimpse of blue, shimmering, watery vastness never fails to make me happy. Home may not be perfect, but it's home... and it's beautiful.

The last few days have been wonderfully summeresque.
Sunday evening there was a very happy bonfire, complete with storytelling, discussion of life-plans, a brief bit of sand-waltzing (note: sand is a terrible surface for waltzing), nonsense songs, and delicious s'mores. T'was merry and warm and delightful!
After the bonfire a group of us decided to travel to a popular taco truck (yes, that's right) and gorge ourselves on very, very tasty carne asada tacos. The few outdoor tables and chairs that were available were, of course, taken. So we opted to stand and eat off the trunk of my car instead. As I watched my recently-washed-and-therefore-unusually-clean car become littered with pieces of onion and tomato, I could only laugh at the odd picture our feasting forms must have made to a casual observer.
The tacos were delicious and the rendezvous delightful. Ahh, summer! Ahh, home!

Yesterday afternoon was also fun and summery. I met up with el señor Lubbers at the Coffee Cartel- a cozy, beachy-chill (dare I say hipster-y?) café bedecked with unique art pieces, obscure books, a suit of armor (why?), and comfy-shabby couches perfect for lounging and enjoying the company of friends…whilst sipping coffee, I suppose. Actually, the barista who was working there when we got there was extremely amusing, if not altogether present. I quite appreciated his appreciation of the word melatonin (“Say it. ‘Melatonin.’ Isn’t that such a cool word?”), his inability to remember whether both or neither of us wanted whipped cream (“I knew it was both yes or both no. They’re such similar words. They both have three letters. Don’t start with the same letter. Have no letters in common. Makes it so hard to tell them apart. Umm, two, three- it’s the same thing. Less than four letters. ‘Yes.’ ‘No.’ It just makes it so difficult to distinguish between them.”), and his assertion that the day's special contained unicorn blood and was nothing short of magical- yeah, he was a fun guy.

But the activity that took over the Coffee Cartel reunion was not coffee centered.
No, a different activity consumed us.
 Much to my consternation, Lubbers forced me to play chess. I begged, I pleaded- to no avail. Against my protestations, the chess board was promptly brought out, set up... and before I knew it I was engaged in battle.
Now allow me to provide some background.
For reasons I can't quite fathom, I had never actually played chess before. I had distantly watched others play... I had a basic understanding of the pieces... But throw myself into battle? Nay, not I! 
This almost makes no sense. Chess seems a pretty... thoughtful, intense game- just the sort of game I would enjoy. And as I found myself trying to decide on moves and thinking through how to save myself from death, I did indeed find myself enjoying the game immensely. It was just the sort of focused thinking I tend to relish. But then I recall my state at the beginning of the game: I had no idea what I was doing, I felt stupid, I desperately wanted to evade a situation which could only result in embarrassing, bloody massacre... in short, I was terribly, cripplingly afraid of the sense of shame and failure that one risks when trying something new. Afraid to the point that I would plead for a different activity. And then it makes sense.
Okay, so I lost. But it was not a bloody massacre (er, right Lubbers?). I made a few short-sighted errors, but it was okay. It forced me to focus and think and do my best, and I loved it.

Something causes me to suspect there may be a lesson in here somewhere... It will probably take a few more (many more?) classes for it to stick, but at least it's a small step in the right direction. Hopefully I have a few more friends willing to ignore my initial protestations and to be supportive when it counts.

Oh and a note on drawing- I'm pretty sure I achieved the zenith of my artistic career yesterday. I pretty successfully managed to capture the slender, flowing, glorious beauty of a nymph statuette which I have admired since girlhood. Annette is very pleased.

Oh, summer! Warm, carefree summer!

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