Life in Photos, Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

On Moving to Tennessee

Sunset comes in like a whisper, hushing the robin’s monologue, stretching and bending the shadows until, at last, nothing speaks save the skies. They breathe deep navy words — slowly, confidently, and silence settles down. The lamp glows warmly, inside, and I pull my legs up over the pine bench and settle down into the posture of writing as the last remnants of Jasmine rice and watermelon dissipate into the air.

I don’t know what Tennessee smells like, yet. Florida was a cauldron, with thick air pressed closed to the ground, rippling intermittently through the Spanish moss and magnolia. And I miss the sea-salt air of the Atlantic, with its tangled seaweed and glinting jellyfish tossed up in the surf. California, too, brought me scorched pine-resin September skies, rich sweetness of strawberries wilting in the thin dry air, and a whiff of tar along the freeway as I sped toward the windswept Pacific cliffs of Bodega Head, drinking  juniper and cypress into my lungs.

But I don’t know Tennessee’s signature scent.

I walked through the plant nursery last night, ivy tumbling at my feet and ferns bursting from their swinging baskets. I buried my face in the mint and lavender, and ran my fingers through the Irish moss. This one smells like the coast, I said, and that one is pure ocean. But what’s in this new landlocked soil that’ll unfurl its leaves and wind its way around my heart?

Cedar in the air will bring me to the pebbled shores of the Great Lakes, every single time.

And the syrupy incense of wisteria rewinds me all the way to Taborska Cesta, Ljubljana, where I can still see the trail of ants parading up the vine.

But what

years from now

will bring me back here when I close my eyes?

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Life in Photos, Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

Nashville or Bust

Oaxacaborn is moving to Nashville!

We’re moving, friends, in a whirlwind.

Josiah was laid off last fall, and now, suddenly, he’s got a new job in Nashville.

The cloud is moving. [1]

Seven years ago this month, I held a one-way ticket to Orlando, stepped on a plane with a (very!) infant Aveline, and touched down in this subtropical land where palm trees sway and hurricane winds rage.

Eleven years ago, I packed two suitcases, took my last $600 out of the bank, and started my life over in California..again.

Fourteen years ago, I climbed up into a Jeep and drove away from the golden valley, drove away for days and days, until the radio crumbled into static and everything slowed, frozen in time and ice.

Eighteen years ago, we’d all driven that path in reverse.

Twenty-seven years ago, we escaped war.

Exodus and genesis.

My life has been wave after wave after wave of exodus and genesis. Exodus: the departure; and genesis, the rebirth.

The exodus involves a period of parched land, a wandering, a time where it seems you’ll never land again. But after the night, genesis dawns, and all is reborn. The roots begin to make their way down the deep green soil, the leaves unfurl, and everything within creation looks up to the light.

This is the way of Life.

This the way of Redemption, and the golden thread that finds its shining way through all the twisted tapestries.

This moment, too, is part of that tapestry. This set of goodbyes. This set of all the movements one has to go through to complete an exodus. The last one, the next one,  this one.

Every one.

Every era.

Every epoch.

Every color, every twist, every knot, every cut — they’re all necessary. They’re all needed.

Now, we’re needed in Tennessee. The boxes are all stacked around me. I don’t know why yet, just like I didn’t understand why seven, eleven, fourteen, eighteen, and twenty-seven years ago.

But that’s not for me to know, yet. It’s for me to follow my God through the exodus, and await the genesis with open arms.

I’ll be there soon.

And then we’ll all sing, along with Johnny Cash,

“I sure found a place I belong…
Proud as we can be
to live in Tennessee…”

P.S. I took the above #nofilter photo while driving through Nashville during a cross-country move nine years ago (that’s right, the above litany of moves wasn’t a complete list). How wonderful, then, that I should stumble upon this photo again today.  Nashville or bust!

Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Aveline is a Parisian Shop

What a delightful discovery! Aveline is an art gallery on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, specializing in objets d’art from the reigns of various Louis.*
Aveline, an art gallery on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France
Thanks to Follow Lauren — who’s currently happily roaming somewhere between Barcelona and London — for the sighting. (Photo via 1-cities.)

*If the lack of proper pluralization here bothers you, 1. you are likely an astute pendant, and 2. you may wish to peruse this.

Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

POETRY & WORDS :: The Oaxaca in my Mailbox

 Beautiful Oaxaca embroidered blouse and embroidered coin purse wallet - Textiles from Oaxaca Mexico  Beautiful Oaxaca embroidered coin purse wallet - Textiles from Oaxaca Mexico

You never know when kindness might really, really touch somebody’s heart.

It’s been a long week. But today when I swung past the mail boxes on the way home, there was a package waiting for me. A package of goodies from Oaxaca. 

You guys, I’ve never even met Grethel, the sweet lady who sent these to me. We’ve exchanged messages about our mutual love for Oaxaca — she is from there, and visits each year — but we haven’t met in person.

When I opened up this package today and saw the beautiful tangible pieces of Oaxaca inside,  my eyes filled with tears. (Oh, thank you, Grethel!) It’s funny how a place becomes a part of you, even when you haven’t been back in years heaped upon years.

And it’s funny how home isn’t a single place. It’s funny how home is really composed of many individual threads, all separate yet interwoven, all tied up together in one beautiful and sometimes tangled tapestry.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis

—-

(Grethel Van Epps Photography | Personal Blog | Facebook Page)

Inspiration, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Taiwanese Photographer Zachary Su

Sometimes I stumble upon a photographer’s portfolio and immediately, I am lost inside the photos. I can be sitting right here in my living room, but it feels like I’ve been transported to another world. Such was the case when I found Zachary Su’s photographs of Taiwan. Plus, I’ve been drawn to images of windows lately anyway (case in point) so I was especially enraptured by his work with light and windows.

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary Su -zacharyziggy on Flickr- Taiwan Photographer

Zachary

Zachary

Aren’t those incredible? I haven’t posted them here, but he takes a lot of black-and-white Taiwanese street scenes too. You can view all of Zachary Su’s photos on Flickr.