Snow Days

I need a Carrie Fisher in my life. Specifically, Carrie Fisher as she appeared in “When Harry Met Sally” – the one who tries to set you up and keeps a rolodex of men-folk to send you on dates with.

I fell in love with “When Harry Met Sally” as a teenager and watched it again and again. It was a sort of security blanket: an affirmation that love, indeed, exists. Teenagerdom was hard on me, romantically and otherwise, but somehow I was comforted to watch these youngsters transform into adults, friends, and lovers. That love would eventually find me in New York City, on New Year’s Eve – or at some other place and time – I was certain.

It was a thing I never doubted – my favorite mystery to puzzle over. Whom would I find –  who was meant to find me??? Right at the culmination of my Saturn return, I thought I found out the answer. I practically buzzed when I was around him. I glowed, I smiled, I was happy. He saw me, in some ways I think more clearly than I saw myself. Observed things I took for granted in my persona. I wonder what he saw but didn’t say.

But even while I dreamed that this was “the one,” unseen wheels turned, lies and unspoken things spun out and around us, filled my head with visions of what we could be as I spun like a top, off to Europe with my living sister and then to Burning Man to memorialize my departed sister, thinking that surely I’d be returning from the trip to claim my love prize at long last.

Of course it wasn’t to be. Hard to believe that was four years ago already. Time passes swiftly and maybe I stood still in New York a bit when I came back around. I immersed myself in a new life and it was bearable, though I feel I got it flipped backward. I wish I’d lived that free life in my twenties instead of working in offices all that time. I just thought too conventionally, I suppose. It’s taken me time to break free. C’est la vie!

Anyway.

This year I missed Christmas with my family for only the second time in my life. The first was 2006, when I was in India. Then I spent Christmas on a beach in Kerala. This year I was working a Nutcracker-themed burlesque show on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. For the holiday, Sarah and I had planned to go to a local hotel in a converted school. Our friend Marie joined us and we had a yummy dinner in the hotel restaurant and then proceeded to drink various drinks at the various bars on the premises.

Unfortunately, the saltwater swimming pool was closed, due to a fog which formed in the enclosure.

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Sarah, Marie, et moi.

We had fun, regardless.

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At McMenamins – priestess style

I spent New Year’s Eve packing my things to move, at last, to my permanent residence in a small converted garage – a cottage or tiny home – with a lofted bed and my own four walls. I was excited about the change, but hadn’t intended to have so little time to move my things between houses. Though I travel light, I bought some furniture that made this move a bit more intensive than the last. I finished moving what I could, met a friend out for a glass of bubbles at midnight, an drove home in rain that was turning to snow for an hour of sleep.

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Spangled for New Year

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With Marie on NYE

Early on New Year’s Day, I awoke and got a cab through two inches of freshly fallen snow to the airport. Despite the early hour, there was mucho traffico on the route, so the driver dropped me off near the train to the terminals rather than waiting in the backed-up lanes.

It took our plane three hours to take off, due to the unexpectedly inclement weather. Fortunately, I don’t have claustrophobia and none of the 6 babies onboard freaked out. By the time I got to DFW, my connections had been missed, so I had the pleasure of hanging out in the airport for several hours. At least there was booze!

When I finally arrived at Tampa it was after 10 pm, but still mom and dad and my sister Skye all came to pick me up at the airport, though it was past their bedtimes. The weather was especially warm this year, ominous, but not something I minded terribly after the sunless winter of Seattle (I say, a bit unfairly, as the sun shines here even as I type).

I had nearly two weeks in Florida to spend time with family and friends. Skye’s kids were with their dad for the weekend when I arrived, but we went to pick them up and I got to spend a few hours with them before heading down to see my grandmother in Sarasota.

Spanky the dog on guard at Mutti’s

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Spanky the dog on guard at Mutti’s

I was pleased to see that Cam was enjoying the keyboard I gave to him and his sister just over four years ago. Cate’s bedroom had blossomed into unicorns and rainbows. She looks remarkably like my sister Erika, though my mother and I both noted that Cate is solid muscle where Erika was bird-like and featherlight.

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Catelin and her Aunt Kira

Mom and dad and I (accompanied by Spanky the spotted hound) headed down to Sarasota to spend the week with my grandmother, Mutti, now in her 94th year. We got in time at the beach interspersed with dog walks and and hanging around the house with Mutti.

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Daddio

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The back yard looked verdant and well-tended, as usual. A new tenant took over my former stomping grounds in the studio above the carport, so I no longer had my separate space to occupy. My happy place. But one benefit of arriving after the holidays was that an actual bed was available for me to sleep in – not one of the ancient twin beds my mother and her siblings slept in in the 50’s.

I got in some good time with Lara and her entourage of dogs – and John, my oldest friend in Sarasota aside from Lara. I love being with those beloved friends from my past. It makes me feel grounded. Unfortunately, the passage of time seems to remove once-close friends, one by one. So many of those who affected me the most are no longer in my life at all. Just last year I reconnected with an old friend and was heartened to think that sometimes the shedding works the other way around and friends come back. But then it all went sideways or backwards. Anyway, I realized I’d been wrong to think that this was a renewal. It was a farewell.

I feel I’ve really said all of the farewells that need saying at this stage. I’m exhausted by it, and frankly, a bit scared to go out into the world of people again. Funny, there is this trend in the last ten years or so toward “positive thinking” among the American zeitgeist. Suddenly everyone advises us to just be positive and ask the universe for what we want and it will “manifest.” As someone who has tried to increasingly put this notion into practice, I can tell you that life does not work quite so simply. Perhaps for some, it does. They manifest the future as they want it to be.

Somehow, for me, envisioning happiness does not make it so. People change unexpectedly. I am not so inclined to change, emotionally anyway. But then, our patterns in relation to love and emotions are formed very early. In the last several years, I have explored my own inner psyche and early emotional formation. Indeed, I’ve found that the roots of my own attachment tendencies are deeply mangled.

Looking into the abyss of one’s own dark places is heavy work. And, as I have learned, it is a journey one must take alone.

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With mom and Spanky at the St. Pete beach before my flight back to Seattle

I sleep well in the lofted bed and I finally have a piano – since I don’t have any stairs to cramp my style! I found one for free on Craigslist and just paid a couple of guys to deliver it. My landlord has lived in this little cottage for years, so it is full of his things, but I packed away what didn’t please me to make room for the piano and my other rearrangements.

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I can’t wait till summer comes, but meanwhile, the cottage is cozy and it was kind of enchanting when it snowed yesterday and doused the garden and my bamboo with white.

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Snowy yard

I stayed home and painted, avoiding the Superbowl hullaballoo on Sunday, though I was grateful I went to Trader Joe’s before the snow so I could nestle in and paint yesterday.

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Part of my cute little house

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Sunflower watercolor

Yesterday evening, I met up with my dear friend Sarah at Capitol Cider, where I sang with the improv jazz jam that happens every Monday night.

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At Cap Cider with my Saddah Diva

Sarah and I have been doing a good job, if I do say so myself, of getting out into the world. We have been to live music, storytelling and theatre since I’ve been back, in addition to some yoga and dancing.

And I feel like maybe – just maybe – I’ve been able to make it through the darkness and I’m emerging out the other side, despite my lack of a Carrie Fisher to drag me back out there. It can’t rain all the time, or so said my favorite 90’s goth movie, The Crow (to mix my movie metaphors).

Working as a waiter in a fast-paced theatre environment is stimulating and living in my tiny house for cheap rent is a dream.

So far 2017 is a good year, despite our disgusting political situation, which is barely worth writing about.

Love and miss,

Kira

Return to My Garden of Eden

And another year gone. I made my annual pilgrimage to Sarasota around the middle of December, driving down to Durham for a night with my bestie and her family in North Carolina before continuing on the next day. I got to Tampa and my sister’s house in time for dinner as Cam worked on his homework and the girls got ready for bed.

In the morning, I drove the last stretch to SRQ. The weather in New York was strangely warm when I left; the transition from north to south hardly deserving of the name.

That afternoon, I was back again in my old familiar haunt at Elysian Fields. It was same, same, but different, as the founding owners had left and so had some of my old friends there, but others had stayed. It seemed almost the same. I got to work, re-familiarizing myself with the spiritual bookshop and the crystals in the bins, their description cards. The checklist for closing and the new products in the personal care section.

I’ve been going back to Elysian for a few years now. Perhaps it will be the last time I return to the store where I learned so much about metaphysics and crystals, about how to speak softly and calmly, about a meticulous attention to detail as a sort of spiritual practice.

On my days off, I luxuriate on the roof, getting a little tan back before I return to the sunless north.

I’ve even made pickle from starfruit and key limes.

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Up on the roof


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Key Lime Pickle!

For whatever cosmic reason, Christmas seems to signify a time of challenges for me: last year, as I drove down from New York, I had the last ever conversation with the man I had, until then, thought I might be spending the rest of my life with. In 2013, an old friend resurfaced like a bad penny, bringing up memories of our friendship and how it had dissolved in Spanish Harlem in 2009. In 2012, just a few days before Christmas, I heard from the man I’d fallen for that summer: he told me he’d loved me, and I thought for a few brief, giddy seconds that my dreams were coming true, until it became clear that he was speaking in the past tense. He had already found someone new.

Somehow, just when everyone is celebrating togetherness, I tend to end up isolated and alone.

This year, however, was a year of keeping others at a safe distance. Turns out I was still smarting from last year’s slings and arrows. I try to be the sort of person who lets things roll off my back, but some injuries don’t heal cleanly: they leave scar tissue, and it’s hard to open up again – hard to let others in.

But the blessing is that I’m not the walking wound I was a year ago. My heart may still be raw, but things are smoother between my mother and me. I’m sad that the love I felt last year has come to so little – the relationship I thought I had, dissolved like so much sugar in the rain. It is as if he simply ceased to be, though he’s made overtures of friendship since then.

But I do not know how friendship can exist without love – trust – honesty. What is there to discuss when nothing is what you thought it was? I try not to be the type who burns bridges, but this time of year seems always to whisper (or shout) to me “let go, let go, let go.”

And so, here goes! I release the sides of the slide and let myself zoom into the future. I resolve that this is the year I get to the bottom of my fears and flush out that barrel till it’s ready to hold something new, without the bad apples of the past to pollute tomorrow’s harvests.

But what about that past? Most of my former loves have moved firmly into the friend zone – the odd ones are the exiles – but even rarer is someone I used to love, whom I’d still consider a potential partner. I honestly didn’t think there were any. But then an old friend rolls back in, and you realize, things never really ended between you two.

I’ll confess: I can get good and stuck on a man. It is easy for me to fall in love, at least initially, since I can be a bit picky. I’m holding out for that teenage feeling, to quote Neko Case – in its absence, my interest flags.

I still love my high school sweetheart, but I think we both feel it is too late to rekindle those flames. I’ve moved thoroughly through most of my relationships, attaining closure – moving on. I’d forgotten someone I used to love. He was my first boyfriend in college, and we went through that intense time of changes together, frequently drunk. When he broke up with me for a girl from back home, I was devastated: up till then, he had been my best friend at Trinity. We managed to stay friends, and eventually became lovers again, but we were never really “together” again. When I was single the summer after college, we’d hook up occasionally. Then he got a girlfriend and I moved away.

Now that it’s been nearly a decade since I last saw him in the flesh, I’d nearly forgotten our friendship entirely. There were some messy parts – bits I guess I’d rather not remember. But up they come, as we start to be friends again. It feels so familiar. Like finding something you used to treasure hidden in a forgotten box under the bed. But is it a lucky charm or a monkey’s paw?

I’m a sucker for a good love story, and how ideal to be with one one already knows of old? Love works in mysterious ways, but I’ve never really circled back around successfully to an ancient paramour. If they didn’t love me the first time, what can have changed now? Better to find someone new. I have certainly been treated better since then. But then, I was in a traumatized state when I got to college. Not to psychoanalyze myself too much, but I had been through a gauntlet of death, sex, and love in high school. I didn’t know how to be casual. I was intense.

Anyway, I begin a new year reconsidering old choices; old friends are the ones I seem to hold the dearest these days.

Perhaps I’m just clinging again to the familiar. This time, I can let it go for real.

New Year’s Eve, I built a fire in the pit out back and we gathered around the flickering flames. We lit a Chinese sky lantern from the dock out by the lake – the dock another old boyfriend of mine rebuilt several years ago, before we broke up not long after my 27th birthday.

My nephew held the bottom of the lantern and my mother held the top until it filled with enough hot air to hover on its own, and then it was lifted above the lake, the trees, among the stars, to disappear, a smoke signal to our loved ones in the sky: we have not forgotten you.

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Cam and Mama lighting the skylantern


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Almost to liftoff!


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Up, up and away!

Love and miss,

Kira

A New New Year

I’ve now officially restarted this blog twice! I’ve been busy writing other things, as my work on my memoir feels like it is starting to pay off. It is rather like finding a sculpture in a chunk of marble, trying to tell a story about your life. Spring has arrived, though the snow on my fire escape would have you believe otherwise. Still, I celebrated with my own version of the Persian holiday, Nowruz –  a new day. I spent the morning writing and planning my day before running around the neighborhood to buy the essentials: flowers and flour – I was looking for barley flour, since barley cakes are a traditional new year offering, but I settled for spelt. I bought honey and incense and beer and scampered home in the snow, which was falling in lacy flakes. I was a bit thrown off by the weather, and not as thorough as I could have been, but I got some fragrant pink hyacinths and bright yellow daffodils. I came home and finished cleaning the apartment – the traditional Spring cleaning, which is also part of Nowruz. Painted eggs is a tradition, too, but I didn’t think of eggs till I was already home and so made due without. The Persian New Year is celebrated by compiling a table full of symbolic food and flora: apples are for love and beauty; garlic is for health and strength; vinegar for development; sprouting lentils for happiness and rebirth; walnuts for creative fertility and money; the flowers symbolize the rebirth of nature after winter, of course, and I placed another of my houseplants on my table. To these, I added my own touches – spelt cakes, made with barley syrup and honey – and beer: libations and sustenance.

A traditional Nowruz table

A traditional Nowruz table

Strange how familiar this ancient tradition feels to me. It is a tradition which predates the historical record – one that is practiced today from India to the Black Sea – and beyond, really, as the Christian Easter is a variant on the theme, just tying it to Christ’s death and rebirth instead of the Earth’s, and removing it safely from the old association of the Equinox. But co-opting the symbols – the egg, the lamb, the cross. Even in Muslim countries, this festival is celebrated among some sects. The very countries where relics are now being destroyed by radical extremists – those very relics were often tied to rituals celebrating natural and astral phenomena. The result of that ancient culture’s interest in the stars is modern astronomy and mathematics, lens technology, knowledge of the Earth’s shape and its position in the galaxy. By celebrating and marking the Earth’s cycles in relation to the heavens, our ancient relatives achieved a remarkable amount of understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. Speaking of our place in the cosmos, I’ve been taking classes at the C.G. Jung Institute here in the city. One class is about the Goddess archetypes of the ancient world and how that iconography and mythology changed over time to reflect our changing relationship with the world, with nature, and with our own fate. We talked about Cybele, the lady of the mountain, accompanied by lions, symbolized by the doorway. She was the Great Mother to the Romans. But before her came Ishtar/Inanna, the star goddess (indeed, it is from Ishtar that the word star is derived) of war and lust – the Queen of Heaven and the Great Below. She was the kingmaker, the provider of bounty and fertility. When she descends into the underworld, the world of humans begins to wither and die. Inanna eventually returns, but in her place, she sends her lover, Dumuzi, who didn’t mourn her in her absence. From then on, the people mourned for her every year, for the loss of her lover. But they celebrated his return with the beginning of spring – the new year. I’ve been steeping a bit in ancient history of late – recently went to see an exhibition at the Institute for Studies of the Ancient World, which featured items excavated from ancient Uruk and showed their influence on modern art, notably Henry Moore and Picasso.

burial duds of ancient queen of Uruk

burial duds of ancient queen of Uruk

A couple of weekends ago, my good friend, Jenna, was in town from Portland and I got spend time with her and her boyfriend, both of whom were with me at Burning Man in 2012. Jenna and I spent an afternoon roaming Central Park before heading to the MOMA, since it was free Friday. It was packed to the gills, but I enjoyed the Lautrec posters exhibition, which was quite impressive in its scale. I even saw a model of the Oslo Opera House, which was designed by my former company, Snohetta.

The Oslo Opera - at the Moma

The Oslo Opera – at the Moma

Jenna being art at the MOMA

Jenna being art at the MOMA

Jenna and I joined her friends in Hells Kitchen, drinking whiskey and chatting until it was time to figure out dinner. We ended up at an Afghani restaurant around the corner from their apartment, where a very congenial waiter entertained us all. The food was delicious, though, and I cleaned my plate. Yum! The next day, I met up with Jenna again in the evening and we had another lovely night on the town. She lived in New York before I moved here, and even lived on my street! Jenna and I have been crossing paths since we met in 2006 when we were both traveling in north India before studying yoga in the south. We didn’t realize when we first met that we were going to the same ashram on the other side of the country!

Jenna and me in Jaisalmer desert - 2006! (with our three monkeys)

Jenna and me in Jaisalmer desert – 2006! (with our three monkeys)

Me n Jenna in 2015!

Me n Jenna in 2015! (photo by Stephen Crawford)

It is nice to have such long-term friends in my life. It is a gift. I can’t help but wish I’d been a better friend to my sister, when she was still alive. I can only do my best to treat the family and friends I still have in a way that shows them what they mean to me. Well, all for now – lord knows this one’s been postponed long enough! Love and miss, Kira

Turn the Page

I mostly eschew New Year’s Eve. Although I am a sucker for the culminating scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” in which Billy Crystal runs across Manhattan to find his lady love by the stroke of midnight and ask her to marry him. But aside from movies – and even including most of those – New Year’s celebrations are a shit show, if you’ll pardon my French (do the French know we associate them with blue language and tongue kissing? Not to mention cute little bulldogs? I wonder.).

Perhaps the problem with New Year’s Eve in North America is that it has no deeper association than the purchasing of a new calendar (those who are still archaic enough to use paper products) and the consumption of lots of booze (people are rarely too old-fashioned for booze). As much booze as possible. After all, it is a New Year and a new chance to sleep with a stranger or get in a drunken fight with your best friend or blackout at some point. It is definitely a chance to walk in uncomfortable shoes and wake up with a mouth that tastes roughly like you sucked on ticker-tape marinated in the juices of Times Square at midnight. Not that any of those things ever happened to me. . .

There is nothing holy about this holiday in modern western culture. Other cultures have a more ritualized and spiritualized approach to the New Year – as in Brazil, where I admired their true enthusiasm for the holiday – and I just discovered that the ritual is for a goddess. On December 31 in Brazil, they celebrate not only the New Year, but also the sea goddess Yemena – a transplant who came with Nigerian slaves to the New World – to whom they throw garlands and for whom they wear white and light candles. It all makes so much sense. We have no god or goddess for the New Year. The closest we get is a cartoon of Father Time, skeletal, scythe in hand, and Baby New Year, rosy cheeked dressed in nothing but a red sash. In ancient times, it was Inanna, who was rebirthed after her holy journey at the solstice, her voyage to the Great Below. One of the longest observed and holiest of times of the year, and we let it pass with nothing but a superficial nod to improving our health. Although I do think that a yearly review of what we have done and accomplished is its own ritual of sorts.

I chanced across a movie last March (2013, how full of hotel rooms you were) in a hotel room in South India. It was a rainy, humid night and I was minimally clothed and keeping still so as to sweat less. My windows were open, despite the fact that I’d seen a family of athletic looking and sharp-toothed monkeys not far from my balcony earlier that day. And suddenly on the opposite side of the world I am watching “New Year’s Eve” or some similarly called tripe of a movie on an ancient TV set. It was made in the style of “Love Actually,” not my personal favorite format for a movie – too many plot lines and too many actors and a weak script and shallow, predictably zany characters who fall in love with each other at a word and then don’t meet again until – you guessed it – NYE. But strange nonetheless to see New York, the home I’d left nearly eight months before, looking so very familiar and foreign all at once. It didn’t make me want to be there for New Year’s eve, (it was already past, anyway) but it did make me miss it a bit, and think about going back. Pine for those I’d left behind there and all the trappings of the life I changed when I left in 2012 to follow my sister’s memory to Burning Man and beyond. In truth, it was something like dying myself. I took very little with me, I traveled (mostly) alone. To paraphrase Inanna, I turned my eyes to the East.

There are times in our lives when one door closes and leaves us to wait for another to open, like when you get to subway platform just in time for the doors to close in your face. What might that 5 minute difference have meant to you? Some people think that each choice we make creates another version of reality in which we’d made the opposite choice – if only we could visit those other realities and taste the strange flavors of different decisions. Until a couple of months before I left New York – more like six weeks, really – I had no intention of coming back after my trip. I’d move elsewhere – maybe the west coast. But then I unexpectedly met someone who made me reconsider. My plan to leave had been in place since April and I’d been planning to quit my job for two years and to go to Burning Man since Erika died there the previous year. And yet now something pulled me back to the city like a magnet, a moth to a flame. I made my way back, eventually, but turns out the flame I found so irresistible had been snuffed. Do dreams have a statute of limitations? Do cities? Do hearts?

This year I happily abstained from New Year’s Eve in the city for the sixth year – which is every year I have lived in New York. I don’t mind missing the frenzy of partying that happens in NYC at the drop of a hat, anyway (never mind a giant crystal ball), which I participated in to some extent at Halloween this year. (I missed blogging about Halloween, because it was my birthday and I met an amazing artist visiting from Spain, Juan Zamora, and we went on an impromptu adventure to Niagara and Toronto just in time for the Rob Ford to get caught on video smoking crack. It was all very memorable).

So I stayed in Sarasota again, where I’ve been keeping to my old quarters in my grandmother’s sculpture studio. I have spent many years in this town having anticlimactic NYEs, so this year I stayed home with my mother and grandmother, aunt and uncle, and we had a bonfire in the back yard and I played some songs for them and we drank pink bubbles in honor of my sweet sissy. My stint with the Elysian Fields’ goddesses is finished for now and now the real vacation begins. Mom and I will go for a camping trip in the Keys and a visit to my Aunt Elisabeth next week and in the meanwhile I am playing music and writing and enjoying the weather. I see my friend John and my friend Lara and otherwise, feel no great need to socialize. I’ve barely seen my sister, Skye, who is off with her boyfriend, and the kids are still with their dad for another couple of days before they come back to town.

It turns out it takes a long time to return to the land of the living when you’ve descended to the depths. It is hard to believe it is a year and a half since I left New York and now it has been 10 months since I returned. What happened to the other me, the one who stayed behind in New York in a parallel reality? It is hard to imagine. I am reminded of so many stories of subterranean depths: Inanna, Persephone, Orpheus. In all of them, a price must be paid for the insight earned: one does not enter the gates of death and leave them without leaving a part of oneself behind. Frequently, the price paid for re-entry into the Great Above is to lose someone beloved. For Orpheus, his trip into the underworld after Eurydice is successful in that he emerges alive, but her soul is the price of his inability to follow directions – to act on faith. While in Hades, he meets Persephone, who was similarly stolen away from the bright world to the underworld by the lord of that realm. It is her sympathy that convinces Hades to allow the lovers to leave – on the condition that Orpheus goes on ahead and doesn’t look back to see if his love is truly behind him. Guess what he does?

In Inanna’s case, she dies and is revived by the water and food of life, but death will not be cheated and demands that she send someone to take her place when she returns to the upper world. She will not send away those who were loyal to her, but then she sees that her husband has not mourned or missed her, but has taken her throne and seems oblivious to her absence. She decides that he will go to the Great Below in her place, though his sister, out of love, asks to split the time with him, so that he may return for part of the year, to bring back fertility in time for spring, symbolized by the two lovers’ annual reunion.

In fact, the Jewish tradition of the wailing wall on the Temple Mount is handed down from the ancient tradition of weeping and mourning for Inanna’s husband on his descent into the underworld: Hebrew women in the bible were chastised for this practice, as it was a facet of the Goddess religion which was predominant in the land of Canaan before it was conquered by Kind David. But – voila – change it into “weeping for the loss of the temple” and no problem – keep on a-wailin’! (It seems to me that most Judeo-Christian traditions and holidays are just remnants of more ancient festivities: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (and maybe murder ’em, too)!

I digress. It is just that the older I get, the more western religious traditions seems hokey and made-up and self-serving, the more curious I am to peer behind the facade of modern traditions and into their ancient roots. I appreciate how pagan religions reflect and enshrine the earth and natural phenomena – as above, so below – rather than projecting man-made black-and-white constructions of Good and Evil onto everything. Even the dark Queen of the Underworld – Inanna’s sister – is a reflection of her: they are one and the same. Not only that, but pre-Christian traditions actually incorporate women! Imagine that – the “fairer sex” as more than a vile temptress or the virginal vessel for some more important dude. . .

Though I didn’t do much for the New Year this year, I celebrated the solstice by making lists of what I’d like to let go of  and what I want to bring into my life. I’m not much for resolutions, but one thing about rebuilding yourself from the inside out is, the original flaws in the old construction become obvious. I’ve lived in a sort of murky jello for the last 18  months – suspended between hope and fear, between mourning and embracing life again, between my old beliefs and the new reality.

I long for the old clarity I used to feel. I mourn for the me who ceased to be when I quit the city before. Perhaps this year’s return to New York has just been another step in my journey into the past and what was lost. Perhaps 2014 will lead me to greener pastures.

How little we know.

Love and miss,

Kira

Snowbird

Well, it’s official: I’m a snowbird. Tomorrow morning I’ll commence the journey southward, Florida-ward, not to return till January is nearly in the rearview. I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to escaping the winter for a time. It’s been a cold winter thus far in the city and I’m ready for vitamin D and family time. Tomorrow I’ll aim for Hillsborough, North Carolina and the charming little abode of M.C. and her little budding family. Then it’s on toward Sarasota, where I’ll work the Christmas week at Elysian Fields, to my delight.

I’ve been helping out at the design office, running Christmassy errands and gluing golden buttons and ribbon onto red toy soldier hats. In between that and modeling, plus the occasional catering shift and manicures at the Beauty Bar, I’ve been working away on illustrating the story I wrote about my sister Erika last fall in California.

erika soars

erika soars

the man

the man

spark

sparks

 

It’s fun to visualize the story and it is good to have an outlet for the powerful feelings that this time of year invariably engenders. The anniversary of my uncle’s death combined with the all-permeating lack of Erika makes the run up to the holidays something of a crescendo of mourning, though it is always mediated with the sweetness of seeing family and friends. Erika loved Christmas and we all feel her absence increasingly once the summer fades with Labor Day weekend – which was her last. As mom says, she never missed a Christmas with the family. I suppose I have yet to get into the spirit, though the season is all around. I can’t help but wish I was planning a trip to Brazil, as Erika and I did a few years ago, as it turned out, on the last New Year she’d celebrate.

sisters in rio - 2010/2011

sisters in rio – 2010/2011

Yesterday I went to the Beauty Bar to set up for my typical shift, when I realized the bar was colonized by a horde of santas, drunken, shoving into the already impossibly packed space. I managed to set up my table and do a couple of manicures before the end of my shift. I celebrated for one last glass (plastic cup) of prosecco in 2013 and headed home to work and rest and recover from all the santas.

The day has faded swiftly and I still have much to do before I leave tomorrow. I’m looking forward to a season of Elysian Fields, beaches, music, family. And I’ve already got an appointment with an artist about my tribute tattoo to Erika.

tattoo design

tattoo design

Well, I’d better get packing.

Love and miss,

Kira