wingardium leviosa

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A week ago I turned 26. The sun made another trip around the Earth, around me. Or rather, the Earth and I made another trip around the sun.

Listen, it’s not like anything’s different. I think I know that now. (As much as anyone can know anything at the age of 26.)

As I get older I have to fight harder to live in those tiny dewdrops where everything melts away. The world isn’t real. Time doesn’t matter. I’m floating in a river and I never make it downstream. The suspension happens so fast I miss it more often than not. Steele smiles and laughs at something Peter says. I levitate for a moment. I lean into Ali’s shoulder for a photograph. The candles on my cake won’t stay lit in the wind. I read the pile of love notes that accompany my many tiny and beautiful gifts.

I’m trying to let these moments rule, but gravity always pulls harder. It always comes in a menial form. My student loan payment increases. The cars need gas, again. Tiny kitchen ants. The unrelenting heat.

But for now we can talk of birthdays. For the third year in a row I requested a grilled pizza party. This time, in our own backyard. This time, Julia wasn’t here so I made all the dough the night before and spent my birthday morning baking an almond rose cake. We walked to the farmers market near our house and bought a small bag full of edible flowers to put on a pizza.

And just so I won’t forget it, I will tell you of the radicchio salad that was bright pink with raspberries, prosciutto, and shallots. I looked down on it and thought, what a beautiful salad. I should photograph it. But I didn’t. So now I’ll write about it. Also the pizza with ricotta, summer squash, and flower petals. It was beautiful, really, all of it. A whole evening can’t float but this one tried really hard.

Gravity always pulls me down and truthfully I spend a lot more time walking on the ground than I do levitating. Or as Watsky puts it, “But as time advanced the lovely days were covered up from view/By an advancing melancholy haze that hovered near the dew”

I’ve grown to know this see-saw of contentment, wonder, and anxiety will always be quivering and dipping from one side to the other. No matter how many things in my life are stacked on one side, there are always a few on the other. It doesn’t make my life bad, or sad, or tiresome. It just is. On the eve of my 27th birthday I have no doubts that I’ll still be playing this game, trying to balance them. Sometimes failing, and sometimes succeeding. I also have no doubt that there will always be the little dewdrop moments. I’ll try to remember them. I’ll photograph as many as I can. I’ll let them stack up, and I know in the end the scales will tip in their favor.

April 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Portland weather has been wearing down on us lately. It's been a very cold, very wet spring. Yesterday we got home from work and it was misting and chilly, and when I got out of the car my coffee cup fell onto the driveway and shattered. (Now I absolutely must buy a real travel mug.) I stood there, defeated, and Steele said, "Well you better take a picture of it."

So I did. And once I had my camera out I realized how beautiful the evening was. Cold. But covered in mist. So I traipsed around the yard and photographed the tiny gems.

For some reason it made me want to write here. Even though it's been months, and before that my posting was sporadic at best. I recently let my brittanyvchavez domain expire, and as such had to do some upkeep over here, changed the header and put some new links in the sidebar, etc. I miss this place.

Life right now is steady, but it can often feel relentless. The endless cycle of wake-eat-work-eat-sleep can feel oppressive. Steele and I are over here in our little house just chugging along and though there are many many moments throughout the days that make it all worth it, moments that I want to save, I haven't done a very good job of documenting. I'm not doing a good job remembering.

So here are some recent good things:

All the blooming trees
Steele making my coffee each morning
Sylvan Esso on repeat
Book club with Rylee and Melina (Also, reading)
Facetimes with Jules
Anytime Ali hugs me
Daylight savings time! (I would be going insane without this one.)
Sour gummies
Kate & Peter being back (Re: Sour gummies)
Tiny blips of sun



12 for 2016

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January, during an ice storm.

February, pillow dent in our bedroom on Jessup St.

March, at my studio,

April, on our roof out the bedroom window.

May, exploded peonies leftover from Mothers Day.

June, in Iceland.

July, camping with Julia.

August, puttering in our new home.

September, Steele in front of our living room window.

October, drying rosehips.

November, a cresting wave in southern California.

December, naked cookies waiting to be decorated.

photographs from Iceland; ii

Monday, November 28, 2016

On our last day in Iceland we had planned to go to the Blue Lagoon. But by the time we made our way around the island we were pretty broke, and the Blue Lagoon is pretty expensive. So instead we found a geothermal hot river, and did the mile or two hike up to it. (The photograph of the green windy river from the last post was from the hike up.) When we got there we changed into our suits and found a somewhat empty spot to sit. The water was only about two feet deep so we were just sitting and relaxing, not swimming. But it was beautiful, nestled in these hills, it was getting late but of course the sky was still that perfect dusk blue. After we had gotten out, dressed and packed up the pack, Steele bent over to grab my shoes and out of the unsealed top of his pack tumbled my little digital camera (a Fuji XT-1.) It plopped into the (hot!) water and was completely submerged for a full second. Needless to say it pretty much ruined the walk back to the car. (And the rest of the night.) I was resigned the death of the camera, as I couldn't do much to trouble shoot at 10 pm in Iceland. Steele was pretty bummed and depressed, and so was I. Our plan had been to drive back around the coast of the island, so that's what we did, whilst I googled many stories of sad people dropping their cameras into water. I wasn't too hopeful.

But it's pretty hard to be totally depressed when you're driving on the coast of Iceland as the light is fading. On our left was the sea, and on our right were these rolling hills and suddenly there was a thick mist creeping down them. I made Steele pull over so I could take a photograph. It was getting pretty dark so I wanted to use the digital, but since it was out of commission I ended up shooting a few frames with my 35mm Nikon. I tried not to worry too much about whether or not they came out. When I got the film back it looked exactly how I remember it. Unreal and eerie.

As for my camera–it lived. I carried it around the next two days traveling, put it in rice as soon as I got home, hoped for the best and put it back together a few days later. No fogging in the lens, nothing wrong at all. Of course at the time I told myself it could still fail later. But now it's been almost six months, so I'm going to tentatively declare it all right.

Of course the real story is about those foggy hills. But what else can I say? Just look at the picture.

photographs from Iceland; i

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Finally getting some of these images into the world. I'm actually quite glad I took a little break from them, because it brought back the magic of Iceland looking through them all again. I can't really find the right words to describe Iceland. Being there is like being inside of a photograph. And also weirdly ordinary, in the way all amazing things are when they're actually being experienced. (Or maybe this feeling is just me?) The best part about it all is the isolation, the feeling of being so small in such a large landscape. After all this time we're all just trying to find that feeling of the sublime. More words and a few more photographs later, but for now I'll leave you with these: