“There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other’s names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name.”—Jeannette Winterson, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”—Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
I wish that I could cook A little bit more than I get to cook I wish that I could see Through a different mind than I have to look I think that I could be A little bit closer to my family If I just did my best To let them stand a little closer to me
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours… . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”—Walden, Henry David Thoreau
I first heard this song at the tender age of 17 over the Christmas Muzak at the local Winn-Dixie where I was working my senior year of high school. (Little did I know this soul sucking “summer job” would follow me to college and beyond and consume the next decade of my life!) For the the first few years I heard this over the Muzak, I didn’t pay much more attention to it then the rest of the generic Christmas music being force fed to us, but—and I’m not sure why or exactly when this occurred—one year I actually stopped to listen to the lyrics and realized that the song was telling an amusing story. A story of a busy single woman who has given up on love and the holidays until a strange coincidence brings her in touch with a missed connection and saves a Christmas she has resigned to spending alone with the “world’s smallest turkey.” Sure enough, the song became one of my favorites, and it was the only reason I looked forward to going back to work after Thanksgiving (when I knew they would start pumping out the holiday Muzak).
The original song is by the Waitresses and has been covered many times since its release in 1981 (and by such luminaries as the Spice Girls and Miranda Cosgrove!). The version I have posted is a cover by the great indie band Summer Camp, and I think it really remains true to the classic 80’s vibe of the original! Enjoy!
Do you wanna take those chances To find my name in the sun? Do you wanna lie on the back of a mountain Where the wolves do roam? Do you wanna drink til’ the paintings do sing Or do you wanna die before the dawn?
(Can’t believe a band this talented is based out of my home town!)
I’ve been getting the travel itch again pretty bad lately. It’s been almost exactly five years since my last trip (to Spain and Morocco) and I feel like it’s definitely time. I’m not really sure what’s brought the urge to the forefront of my mind… maybe the fact that I’m starting a good job and I realize that I can do more than just daydream about traveling again.
I saw this quote on Twitter a while back and it brought to mind one of the best nights I spent in Morocco:
"The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough." -Thomas Carlyle
It’s a beautiful quote in and of itself, inspiring and poetic. But it was actually the literal meaning behind the words that caught my attention. That fact is this: we don’t see the stars anymore. At least not where I live, and probably not most of my countrymen. Oh sure, on a clear night you might see some of the brightest stars, and most Americans probably don’t think twice about the absence in their skies, drowned out by the ever present lights of their cities. I certainly never did— until my trip to Morocco, and the one night I spent in the Sahara desert. It was then that I realized what I’d really been missing for the majority of my life. From the the giant erg on which I was reclining with one my best friends and other members of our tour group, I gazed up at the night sky and saw… stars. Not just a few hazy stars; uncountable billions of of them, and all in crystalline clarity. And to my utter surprise I could actually see the Milky Way. It took my breath away. I had never experienced a feeling of awe like that before. I imagined maybe it’s what the faithful experience when they say they feel the presence of God. It was almost overwhelming; I’ll admit it brought tears it my eyes.
Up to that point on the trip, I had been taking photos like a mad man (even from camel back). But that night, I didn’t even try to capture the image before my eyes. The thought of fumbling around in the dark with my camera, trying to decide on aperture and shutter speed settings, seemed trivial to me. I hold a small amount of regret for that decision now. The actual visual memory of what the stars look like in the desert sky is somewhat hazy to me. After all, it was the only night of my life (before or since) that I have seen stars like that. But the recollection of the feeling of awe remains with me to this day. That night under the stars, somewhere in the wild dunes of the Western Sahara south of the High Atlas, I reaffirmed my love of travel—even if it meant I would have to poop in a dirty shack in the bushes and tromp through yards of “camel chocolate" in the morning to mount the surly beasts that would convey us back to Ouarzazate.
But as it turns out—and I’m sorry if this is TMI—the local cuisine of Morocco was at the time playing havoc with my stomach, and I ended up being constipated the entire three days of our trek out to the Sahara and back (lucky me!), so I really didn’t mind the toilet situation. And camels are an experience I think everyone should have to endure at least once in their life!
Thank goodness for the internet, because when the memory of stars eludes me, a simple Google search is enough to satisfy my nostalgia.That night sitting next to an old friend and some new ones, I gazed upon a sky that looked something like this:
…and that memory (or at least a fragment of it, which is enough) will stay with me forever.
There is another day of that trip which affected me acutely, this time taking place in southern Spain. But that’s a story for another time…
Start my new x-ray job on Monday. I’m so nervous and excited. It’s been such a long journey and I can hardly believe I’m about to see the end result. I’m also super happy that at this point most of my class has also found jobs (or decided to continue their education into advanced modalities). The economy being what it is, we were all scared when we graduated that we might be unemployed for months and months. But here it is 4 months after graduation, and many of us have found gainful employment! The hospital I’m going to be working at hired one other person from my class, and many others will be working at the hospital across the street from me, so I’ll be able to see them all the time!