Archive for the ‘wanderings’ Category
I first heard of this awesome little group years ago. My sister went to school with one of the incredibly talented members of the band. I liked them back then, but that was when I was more in a heavier rock stage of my life, not that I don’t still love heavy rock.
Anyway, last time I was home my best friend and I somehow ended up in my sister’s car having a serious dance party to this jam…
I don’t know if it’s the timing of where I’m at with my life, the memory from having so much fun with my sister and co. that night, the fact that Big Tree now resides in SF or the humble happiness the music creates, but I absolutely adore this song.
In this song you can individually hear how each musician contributes his/her talents to the song and yet when you listen to them all together it makes for an even more powerful tune.
In so many ways this song reminds me of moving to California. Yet, it doesn’t make me long for the way my life was when I first put my foot on the gas to leave the East coast. Instead this song acts as a reminder to me that this is the journey. Through the ups and downs life remains so beautiful.
As I’m about to turn 26 I try not to look back. It was a rough year to say the least. I finally feel like I’m at the end of such a dark chapter of my life.
When I came back to San Francisco from Portland last weekend I felt like I was coming home. This is where I’m supposed to be. I have no idea where I’ll be a year from now, nor do a dare venture a guess. To quote the writing on the inside of my Grandma’s memorial service program, “you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.”
Moving to California didn’t turn out how I ever imagined it would, yet I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. This song has a fabulous way of reminding me of that.
This song is so appropriate for a variety of reasons. I spent the last night I was home with some of my nearest and dearest friends, the Kenney sisters and Jackie. Per usual, there was mucho listening to the Avett Brothers.
Now, en route back to San Francisco I’m having a glass of red wine having just finished a phenomenal book and contemplating the state of my life.
After a constant weekend of being on the go, I am alone, listening to music, writing; I’ve never been more grateful for a six hour flight in my life.
How irrevocably my life has changed in the past 8 months.
“Some say with age our purpose comes clear,
I see the opposite happening here.
Are we losing the fight?
Are we growing backwards with time?”
I used to know exactly what I wanted. I would spend my summers in Rockland hanging out with my friends and family. Eventually I grew restless.
Rockland is no longer a desired place to live for me.
People have changed and most of my friends have moved on.
But when it comes to the matter of family how do we move on? After living several months in San Francisco with a serious lack of love, in comparison to the immense amount of love when surrounded by so many friends and family I have back home in Maine, I was truly humbled on this last trip home just how much lighter life is when you let that much love in.
Spending some time with my brother and his girlfriend I was genuinely envious. My brother, most days, is content and happy with his life. A fisherman who loves a girl, his friends and his family. He spends his free time either hanging out with his best friends, his love or doing handy work for my parents.
A part of me is envious of that. I am envious that it could have so easily been a life I’d chose. A simple life.
However, when it comes to the familiar and the unknown I’ve always chosen the unknown. A part of me is much more comfortable with it.
My question now is: is choosing the unknown a weakness? Is it instead choosing what we know the harder option? Being satisfied with what we know and wanting what we have, not constantly striving to have what we want?
Is my life now a case of wanting what I cannot have? And not wanting what I have? Honestly, I’m not sure.
I know what I have is an incredible heart and love and loyalty for my family and friends but I also know I have a talent as a writer and a love for travel. How do I equally honor both those things?
“I was young and love was fun, now it’s so serious.
Now all the fun has equal pain,
There’s something wrong with this.”
The furthest phrase from my mind today. Although as I get older I get better at attempting to keep perspective. The new music is really helping. Seriously if you haven’t given it a try yet, just do it.
That being said, naturally, since I’m leaving tomorrow, I’m stressed out. What’s the temperature? What should I wear? Do you wear black to a memorial service? Who do I need to see? When’s the bus? Did I schedule enough content for our clients through the weekend? How’s my grandfather doing? Several of the thousand questions running through my head at a mile a minute today.
After work I went for a pretty hard run to get some of that stress out and just smell the Pacific.
Why do we stress? It’s so not worth it. Preemptive anxiety about leaving, about a big event; it’s so silly. For we don’t know until we get there and we only have this moment so screw worrying about the ones that might never come. Right?
I was beautifully reminded of the joys of just living post my run this evening when sitting down to peruse my Twitter feed. I came across a tweet from an old acquaintance , Guillaume Marais. Guillaume was a tour guide turned friend on one of my many adventures in South Africa.
Anyway, his profile further directed me to his website of absolutely incredible photographs from all about.
You have to go to his site and check out the rest of the images. They are absolutely incredible and instantly brought me some much needed peace. Hope all is well, friend!
This is one of my favorite photos from my journalism endeavor to Egypt, Syria and Qatar back in 2009. A dear friend of mine is in Cairo this week and her photos brought many visions and memories from my trip to the forefront of my mind which inspired me to look through my photos from my time in the Middle East.
This particular photo was taken the night before my birthday that year. A few of us separated from the group, bought some beers and went on a little night cruise on the Nile. This photo was taken as we were walking down to the docks to the boat in Luxor, Egypt.
We had traveled to Luxor in order to see all the ruins, which I’ll save for another day, for they are a phenomenon in themselves.
This photo is so great because while the modern boats are in the forefront, the setting sun, the mountains and the Nile in the back are timeless and the colors create a very magical aura. Being in this place so rich with history, you can almost transport yourself back in time. It was certainly a humbling experience in that our lives are really just moments in the history of the world.
Getting off the ferry in Sausalito last weekend. Kind of looks like Italy, or paradise, but in reality, just a quick boat ride out of the city. California continues to impress me with her humble beauty.
Good times, incredible weather and amazing hues. Have a great weekend, I’m headed south. Updates when I return!
Over the weekend I took a quick little ferry trip across the bay to Sausalito. It’s absolutely perfect there. These days I feel more so than ever that I should be living on a boat, traveling the world and writing. In reality I’m working overtime to slip away for a few days here and there and just making rent on the outskirts of a not so pretty neighborhood. One day, I will live on a boat. In the meantime, I have my camera and my dreams.
Earlier this week I wrote about South African artist Fortune Sitole and his paintings of the shanties on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa.
I thought I’d offer some perspective as to what a shanty town like Khayelitsha really looks like. This is one of my favorite photos from South Africa as it was a very impacting moment that I will carry with me in my heart for the rest of my life. Upon driving into Khayelitsha I was so rocked to my core. To the point where I started to realize THIS is more the norm in the world we live in more than our lives here in America. It still blows my mind to contemplate.
To me, Sitole’s paintings and their vibrant colors add an aura of happiness to the paintings. I find that to be an accurate representation of Khayelitsha. The people and the children in Khayelitsha that I met were just as happy, if not happier, than the people I work and interact with in my daily life here in San Francisco.
It’s pretty amazing, but it really comes down to perspective. Does that mean that the living conditions of those dwelling in these make-shift houses aren’t horrific? Or that all the inhabitants of this community are in fact happy? Absolutely not. I’m not that naive and won’t pretend that I know the faintest thing about the daily lives of these people because I met a few of what is estimated to be hundreds of thousands.
I digress. I was speaking to perspective. It helps me remember that while my life these days is not what I imagined it to be, for better or worse, it’s still pretty damn fabulous.
I woke up, made a cup of coffee, put on some Bob Marley (REGGAE FRIDAY!) read the headlines in bed, wrote a few updates for a client and then got to sit here and write. Plus I get to wear jeans to work today and I’ve allowed myself to splurge and buy my lunch. These simple little indulgences and freedoms are all too frequently taken for granted in our society. I remind you to stop, breathe and enjoy the littlest things.
These days I try to spend my lunch break in the Union Square park whenever it’s nice out. Though a large amount of homeless people and tourists tend to also be flocking around the park area, it’s a great spot to people watch and enjoy the sunshine. Plus it’s two blocks away. #cityliving
Anyway, during the day Union Square is filled with various displays of art work as well. The other day when walking by I saw a group of paintings and instantly was brought back to South Africa. Right away I knew the pictures were displaying the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town, specifically Khayelitsha.
A friendly reminder of an adventure into a world so vastly different than my own. I could almost feel the sunshine and see the faces I passed many years ago when writing an article about the water supply and sanitation conditions of the townships.
The following is a statement from Fortune Sitole explaining the exhibit:
“I want to foster an awareness of the conditions suffered by South Africans, who create makeshift shelters by optimizing outside space and leftover materials – metal, tires, stones, etc., whatever they can find to build their homes.
Fashioning my work as homage to my ancestors, family and community these pieces are a reminder of the day-to-day life in black South African townships. But shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty.
The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers. Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of Shanties are slowly disappearing from South Africa’s landscape. Redevelopment and investment begin to paint a brighter picture for the future of South Africans, an encouraging example for the people of the world who are experience poverty today.”
This past weekend was another gorgeous one here in San Francisco. In need of some fun and some sunshine a dear friend and I headed out to the Treasure Island Flea Market where the weather was impeccable. After a morning spent running and writing it was an all around pretty fabulous day.
I am certainly happiest and at the most peace when on the ocean, so after the Flea Market we headed down to the rocks to swap stories and laughs on the rocky island coast. For a minute, it almost seemed like we were back on another familiar rocky coast, except, the view was vastly different.
I hadn’t used my digital SLR in a while and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. Check out some of the treasures and the amazing view…
I love this photo. It’s of a very famous mosque in a very famous square in Damascus, Syria. I wish I could remember the name. Anyway, something about it represents peace and hope and faith to me. I find it comforting.
How did I end up in Damascus, Syria you may ask? I was on a journalism dialogue in the Middle East several years back. Given all that’s happened in the Middle East since my trip there, it’s pretty mind blowing to go back and read some of my blog posts. SO if you happen to be taking it easy this Friday evening and looking for an interesting read, check it out: melissaleiter.wordpress.com.