Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Homefront” Category

A Year In Pictures

Posted on December 13, 2013

A look back at what 2013 looked like for me in pictures.

I’m so glad Elizabeth inspired me to take time for this reflection. Looking back for a few iconic photos from each month made me remember so many forgotten moments; so many bright glimmers and funny circumstances and laughter and adventures.


JANUARY

January_Boys

January_Self January_Cold
FEBRUARY

February_Sweet

February_Sprout_4thBirthday February_Bean_8thBirthday
MARCH

March_Studio

March_Selfi March_Sprout_SnowyGate March_Boys_NYC March_NYC skyline March_NYC
APRIL

April_fields

IMG_6707 April_Bean April_Sprout April_Bean_MakingWaffles April_Selfie
MAY

May_WalkOnTheRoad

May_Him May_RipplesInPond

May_Sprout_Field=

May_99U May_Selfie
JUNE

June_GoodbyeHouse
June_SummerSalad

June_Bean June_Sprout June_selfie
JULY

July_Fourth

July_Family July_FloodedRoad July_floodedField July_Barn July_ShelburneMuseum July_ShelburneMuseum July_backyardPool July_Camping_StoningtonME IMG_9788 July_Stonington_Maine July_StoningtonME July_Family July_selfie July_Maine
AUGUST I

August_EndOfAnEra

August_selfie August_Upperfield August_LostTooth_bean August_Sprout_cat August_makeIncredibleThings August_Fair August_Clover August_Sprout August_Bean August_TheFinalView August_TheGoodbye
AUGUST II

Agusut_HelloRoses

August_IceCreamTruck August_Sprout_IceCream August_NeighborhoodWalks August_BeanIsAReader August_NewHome August_Bookshelves August_FreshPaint 2013-08-30 11.32.16-2 Bean_FirstDayOf3rdGrade August_FirstDayOfPreK
SEPTEMBER

August_Sunset

SeptemberSun September_house September_Bean_GlassBlowing_AOGlass September_Trust September_applePicking September_Selfie September_GracePotter September_NYC September_ThisIsLove September_Waiting September_Relief September_Skyline September_us September_BeanAndFaithfulAligator 2013-09-13 10.31.58-1
OCTOBER I

September_Flight

September_Us September_JamaicaView September_JamaicaWater September_Jamaica September_Selfie September_Him September_JamaicaInn September_Jamaica
OCTOBER II

October_leaves

October_Foliage October_PumpkinPicking 2013-10-24 18.20.02-1 OctoberMantle October_SelfieWithNephew 2013-10-20 00.34.34 2013-10-30 20.15.33-1 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
NOVEMBER

November_Sky

November_Boys November_Fire November_mantel November_Thanksgiving November_Luminaries November_Bean
DECEMBER

December_BanditCat

December_Sweet December_Us December_Him December_Selfie

Upon Arrival: A Slow Arrival

Posted on September 9, 2013

vsco_0 vsco_1 vsco_2 Seagull sunsetOnLake MorningLight 2 table bandage CatMap

It takes me longer than I anticipate to arrive. For the first two weeks, I have move-related amnesia. I can’t find anything, even my body in space. One night, I believe I’ve broken my elbow after a coffee table falls on it. I fold in against myself like origami and cry. I have no idea about anything. If it’s broken, or if it isn’t, and so I spend hours in ER with T at my side while a dear friend sits on my couch in my unpacked house. Outside it pours. We get the verdict that it’s just badly bruised, and I come home dejected, exhausted, embarrassed. My friend acts like it’s completely no problem. He’s good like that, even though the cat threw up in our absence. I owe him for certain.

A week later I slit my wrist trying to catch a falling glass picture frame. The cut makes a perfect red line. Gapes just enough to make me quaver. It happens ten minutes before we need to leave to bring Sprout to his first day of school, and so I apply pressure and wrap my wrist in a dozen bandaids and just go, carrying it vertically, like a fragile totem. I kiss his rosy cheeks, watch his hesitation and the decision to follow after his teacher to feed the chickens, and then I go. I call my doctor, then head to urgent care. Hours later I have three stitches. After the first day I wear the zebra bandaids Sprout offers me. I try to slow down.

Still, I walk into door frames. Trip over shoes in the entryway. Everything is a perpetual, “Where did you put the…?” conversation. Everything displaced, misplaced. There are socks along with mail. A hammer in the silverware drawer. We take two trips to Ikea, the first to get bunkbeds that aren’t in stock, the second too, to get the beds. We come back with other things, naturally. Lights we want to return the minute we’ve brought them in the door. A cabinet to house the audio equipment that in the last house had been wired into in-wall speakers. We drive up and back passing miles of genetically modified corn that rustles with perfect stalks in flat fields as the sun arcs across the sky. We become impatient experts at assembling flat pack furniture.


And then we’re here. Here in the best little neighborhood that is so close to everything. One night we go to the lake after dinner for ice cream cones, and are back in time for bed. Other nights we walk Clover, the boys riding out ahead on their bikes, making a game of stopping (and sometimes not stopping) where I tell them to. The sun slants long and golden and low across the pavement, and makes our cheeks light up.

Somehow we make it through T’s birthday (my love, my hero, my co pilot) and the first week of school, and finally the house feels functional. Every room has it’s utility and gradual grace. Many still need paint or pictures or hooks or nooks to be created. But it’s close now, and we all feel like we’re here now instead of in limbo with our minds tracking back to the familiar habit of the floor plan we left behind.

Also, out of nowhere, amidst all the turbulence of moving, the title for my next book arrives like a gift. Like a thin silver lasso cast out among a stampede of thoughts that occur as I do other mindless tasks (turns out building flat pack furniture is good for something). And it makes me giddy to have it now, this whisper, this inkling of what the book will be, tucked into the pocket of my heart even as I celebrate the 1-year anniversary of my first book. Whoosh. There went the year.

Now we eat on the back picnic table in the last light of evening. We light candles after dark. Apples are sweetening in the orchards and the air is crisp. And slowly, slowly I am arriving. Here. In this new life.


Now, upon arrival, as I begin new rituals, blocking time into my calendar for new projects, and mapping new runs,I find myself circling back to the things that ground me: poetry, morning pages, baking bread, making soup.

I’m curious:

What grounds you as you move towards this new season? What makes home home to you?

Glimpses: The making a new *home*

Posted on August 22, 2013

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

There are many words that will come, but for now, here are a few glimpses as we unpack boxes and think about the way our habits and lives will shift here.

The tree fogs sing loudly here at night, and it is quiet, save for the occasional cars. In the morning the sounds of traffic rise with the sun. During the day there are parrots somewhere in the neighborhood. They remind me of my childhood: where my neighbors had parrots of all kinds up on the hill above our house. I love their exotic calling during the day.

There are trees here, wider than my arms can hold, and a creek where Bean already caught a crawfish longer than my palm. He’s fearless and slight of hand, that boy of mine. Both of them, such natives in nature. Sure footed and confident in the woods where they go now to explore.

They’ve also got a shed attached to the house off the back deck that they call their ‘clubhouse.’ It’s the perfect home for their workbench–stocked with hammers and nails and small saws and bits of wood, and for all of Bean’s “inventions” and collections: snake skins, pebbles, circuit boards, locks.

The house is small. Humbly small. It’s good for us, and it requires an adjustment (we have a lot of stuff it seems!) We’ll likely be storing some things, to keep the space open and easy. There is good light in the living room though, with windows perfect for basking beside, especially come winter when the sun is scarce.

We brought the boys back to the old house to say goodbye, but all they really wanted was to be here, playing with their bikes on the sidewalk and then running to the ice cream truck when it came by–such a novelty still, for these country boys of mine.


More glimpses to come. We’re still knee-deep in boxes… and I’ve got some health issues going on that are slowing me down (a positive Lyme test being one of them. Ugh.)

Toward the closeness of friends { Just One Paragraph 24/30 }

Posted on August 18, 2013

vsco_3 vsco_0-4 vsco_0 vsco_4

We pack all day, and then a few dear friends come, bearing dessert to sit around the bonfire with wine while the kids run wild in the woods. The moon climbs up over the peak of the roof against a violet sky. Then the crickets come, and the katydids, thrumming. Woodsmoke, laughter. A good final fire to mark the end of hundreds, all of us gathered on the uneven ground on dinner table chairs, dodging the wood spoke. After a while the kids light sparklers and twirl across the lawn, and when everyone there is only contentment. To be here, and to be moving toward the closeness of friends.

Nearly beginning {More than Just One Paragraph 24/30}

Posted on August 17, 2013

The lower meadow vsco_0-2

There is mist when we wake up. We lie in bed, close, breathing, watching the soft world through the wooden slats of the blinds. Three days left.

I think about the ways we cannot know. The ways before and after are utterly discrete, the barrier between them absolute. It was the same, waiting for the arrival of my sons. Or waking up the day after college. Or the moment after I said “Yes.” It is always this way.

We move with measured intention or whirling chaos towards the unknown, and then we are there at the brink. We can’t know, and yet we leap. Wings made of faith, of certainty, of calculable odds, of foolishness, of hope, of daring.

I walk out into the meadow with bare feet, just to feel the dew. To pay homage to the way the grass has always been there, lush, tangled, season after season to harbor field mice and Queen Anne’s lace and milkweed and monarchs. I go, because for so long this field has claimed me, and claims me still. Not just this field really, but all fields. The wild, my home.

We’ll see where new begins; what shape beginning makes.


Beginning

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

BY JAMES WRIGHT

The day as it was {More than Just One Paragraph 23/30}

Posted on August 16, 2013

photo 5 (1) photo 1 (8)

I didn’t write last night because I came home and completely crashed: chills, swollen glands, headache. T wondered, “What about Lyme?” and so today I went and got blood drawn. I have nearly all the symptoms. But who knows? It could be anything, everything, my body on a collision course with the reality of moving, which we are in just four short days.

Bean came into bed this morning, his hair a shock of alarming curls, his grin sleepy and sweet. “How are you feeling, Mama?” he asked, spooning perfectly into my arms. And then he lay with me and we dozed and talked about things and imagined what the future will hold. He seemed to get it, my little aquarian kindred. That this is big, what we’re about to do. “It’s our last weekend here,” he said softly, nestling in.

Then came Sprout who has the heartiest of laughs. His dimples cause an uproar of delight in my heart. He bounces instead of snuggles. His sturdy little body burrowing for a second before he springs back up, and kisses my cheeks and nose and forehead and then dives off the bed to go play with matchbox cars.

photo 2 (8) boy and dog

T leaves for work. It’s my day with the boys. Bean and I linger in bed, imagining where we’ll explore downtown, what colors we’ll paint their room, how we’ll have friends nearby. Then, slowly we get up and while I’m untangling my hair and finding jeans he goes downstairs in underpants and a sweatshirt and starts making french toast. He’s got the first round frying by the time I head downstairs, and is perched on the stool by the espresso machine, teaching Sprout the steps. He pulls a perfect shot. “Iced or hot, Mama?” he asks.

We eat mounds of french toast and it’s perfect: eggy, with just a hint of vanilla and cream. Then, after unloading and loading the dishwasher and packing all the cookbooks that seem to have mounded themselves on the kitchen table, we head to the car with a lab slip for blood work.

Sprout watches the practitioner closely as she cinches my arm and draws blood. Unlike Bean who wants to know how everything works, Sprout wants to know if I’m okay. If it hurts. If I flinch. (I don’t, just for him.)

They took such good care of me all day.

Home is wherever I’m with you

Posted on June 22, 2013

Home
I don’t know where to begin because things have already begun. Summer. The fire flies blinking. We’re always in the beginning, the middle, the ending of something; our lives made up of this simultaneous stuff. Life, happening.

It happened fast and slow this time, and perhaps this, too, is the way things always happen. We’d been thinking for a while. Talking together, circling the idea. Talking with friends. Imagining ourselves somewhere other than this house, this place that has become home to us, that has made us the family that we are.

Because the thing is, when we moved here eight years ago I worked down the street at the local elementary school, and T worked from home. Bean was a rambunctious, curious, wee 18 month old. Life was radically different than it is now–with an 8 year old and a 4 year old and work that brings us both into Burlington almost every day.

Really it's the driving that swayed us. The drive to everything: to get milk, to pick up vacuum bags, to buy new sneakers or arugula or a copy of the New York Times, to drop off Bean at a play date, to go on a date, to go anywhere at all. It was the 45 minutes every morning of driving just to drop Bean off at school. 90 minutes round trip. The drive both of us make, one doing drop off, one doing pick up; the hours spent behind the wheel making long distance phone calls and listening to podcasts and radio or just the wind blowing in our ears.


Really, it’s because of the driving. The fact that we are always driving. That we spend more time in the car than anything else. Including here at home, among the wild fields of tall grass. And it’s that truth that finally, gradually hit us.

But also, we’ve gradually become a part of a community of creative, fun, incredible people who all live and work near Burlington, and we never ever see them on the weekends. There are no dinner parties. No after work drinks. No meeting friends after the kids are in bed. No casual play dates. It’s never worth the hour spent in transit.


The truth is we’ve outgrown this long dirt road, in a way neither of us imagined we might. We’re on the cusp of new things now. New directions, projects, adventures, discoveries.

The boys are all legs their hair long with summer; their elbows scraped. They walk down Church street ahead of us. They ride bikes without training wheels. They want to learn to skate board. They want access to a pool, to the lake, to friends, to the library, and all the things that come with living in a neighborhood instead of on a homestead.

And T and I? We want things. Some are clear: less driving. More time. And some still unnamed. Still undecided. We’ll rent for a year, if not more. Let our compass needle spin for a bit, until we find the right place.

Less driving. More time. It’s a simple equation really. With proximity to downtown every day will yield 180 minutes a day of untapped time. Imagine what could be done in that time!

Still, when we decided, it didn’t feel like we’d really decided. It felt like fiction. Like something we’d agreed to in a story. It seemed like the decision would take forever to be real. We expected a long summer of house showings. We expected having to met out the very thin reserves of patience we barely have. We expected haggling. We expected waiting things out. Instead it happened in a weekend. The right buyers. The people who will love this place harder and more and better than we have, if that’s possible. We’re so happy the found us.

In a weekend.


What happened next: I was euphoric. Then I wasn’t.

I panicked. I cried. I felt a thousand things. Uncertain, grateful, scared, self-doubting, anxious, exhausted, giddy, obsessive. Every rental we looked at was confusing. Yes and no. Pros and cons. Nothing felt like us. The us, of who we’ve become here. And even though I know that that is not the point. To continue being the same, following the same habits, fumbling for the same light switches, walking down the same hallways, the familiar has a hold I didn’t expect on me. And all I wanted was everything to be settled and certain.

I was unprepared for familiarity. For the longing of it. The animal tug of comfort. For the hungry way that habit pulls you back again and again. And feeling myself pulled this way, I felt betrayed. This wasn’t what I was supposed to feel. This was not what I’ve always said I feel, wanderlust running deep and blue in my veins, the one who always has an escape route planned, the one who wanders down unmarked roads for the sake of it, who is called by faraway cities.

It’s an unreconciled thing really. Familiarity and wildness. Wanderlust and roots. And it’s clear I’ve not made my peace with either.


Also, kids complicate things. Apartments without yards for these country boys would be the death knell. A place in the Old North End that I would love, tucked between an African market and a honeysuckle hedge, is fraught with obstacles when it comes to their innocent big eyes. Across the street the Labor Ready place where people stand about listlessly for hours, tossing cigarette butts to the curb; radios playing non-stop; an the endless stream of traffic stop and go at the light. To me, it’s all material; all story. But to them?

Sprout will hardly remember this place as home. 4 is only the beginning of memory. The beginning of time transferred from short term to long term for safe keeping. For him it’s not leaving that will matter, it’s where we go that will count. But Bean will remember, sensitive and big-eyed. He’s torn about moving. Excited, eager, and then suddenly sad.

Really, home is us, but more than that it is here.

It’s the 4 of us, and who we are becoming. Our dreams, caught like fishes in the nets of our imaginations and reeled into the nearness of the present tense. Our lives, like a series of stop-motion films. One day happening and then the next together marked by the countless meals and walks and loads of laundry that make up the weft of our lives.

May 26, 2013

It took mea going alone to the top of a mountain to reconcile everything: the glee, the possibility, the devastation, the exhaustion, the responsibility, the opportunity, the hurdles. It too letting the birds eye view from up there fill my soul. It took lying and listening to the wind. It took list writing, and remembering. And then hiking back down.

Then the next day we found a perfect little place to rent. For now. For this year. Suburban. With a creek. And sidewalks. Kid-friendly biking distance to the farmers market, the library, the park, the lake. A place to transition in. To acclimate. To find ourselves becoming something else. Something new.

So, it’s likely things will get a whole lot more adventurous around here, and saying that makes me see how habitual I’ve become in the way I see and record the moments. How for-granted everything is. The road with it’s wild raspberries. The mail boxes. The neighbor’s pond. And the house, with our steep stairs and red wood stove and our kitchen island around which life pivots: pancakes, coffee, sandwiches, noodles, toast, markers, legos, experiments, to-go lunches, magazines, love.

This will be a summer drenched in nostalgia and lasts. I’m planning on recording and sharing them here, so we can remember when we’ve moved on. So we can live each moment twice. Boxes packed and the door flung wide to the wild blue. It’s bitter sweet and thrilling, all at once.