Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to my soul. That sounds a bit odd right? Maybe. But my soul is something I am intrinsically involved with. It is different from my heart, my brain. My brain is very helpful in the logic department. Ya know, informing me when I am being nonsensical, which is often I will admit. When I should feasibly stop eating cookies and go for a run. Also pretty often.
My heart tells me what I want, what I beat for. And I try to listen to my heart's desires while asking my brain for assistance when my heart really wants to become a Wild West girl in a traveling troupe of horse riders. I obviously have to mesh the two and acknowledge that yes I would love to run free with horses, but wild horses won't cut me a check for my ever-increasing credit card bill. I wish it were that easy.
Now my soul. Oh goodness. That's a whole other entity. It isn't one thing. It encompasses my whole being. My reason. My brain. My Heart. My insides. It is like a spindly electric root pinging off every nerve inside my body, throbbing and waiting for the things I most connect with to set off on a fiery thrumming rampage throughout my internal system. Do you get it?
My soul is what sings. It cries. No it weeps. It longs for the things my heart didn't even know it really wanted. For instance, I was driving through the mountains with my grandma a few weeks back just silently listening to the wind and watching the landscape roll across me like a billowing sheet. I didn't want to read. I didn't care to turn on the radio. I just wanted to be in the mountains. That is all. I found myself thinking of pioneer women in the valley in their old clothes, walking to a well, or scrubbing clothes on a washboard, cutting up animals that their husbands had just finished skinning and cleaning or whatever burly men do with their freshly killed game. I could see it. I watched the signs that said:
Maggie Valley
French Broad River
Bluegrass Jam, tonight at 9
Cherokee National Forest
Smokey Mountains
And I felt it. That feeling that my soul was trying to tell me something. My body fairly sizzled with the urgency of my yearning, my love for the mountains, for all they encompassed, stood for and concealed. And I knew, with a death and taxes like certainty, that my soul was reaching out to the mountains like a newborn baby reaches out to her mother.
And a few moments after feeling this quaking inside of me, of knowing what I need and reeling from how I will go about obtaining it, my grandma said to me, "there is magic in the mountains," looking at them in exactly the way I was.
I knew it! There is magic in the mountains, and maybe that calls to me too. The sense that it's not just beauty, it's not just adventure, it's something other-worldly that I might not ever understand even if I tried.
And since that moment of raw understanding about what makes my soul quiver with unmatched passion I have been experiencing these sensations more and more. I hear particularly radiant music and I cover my face and cry because some things deserve my tears.
In fact now that I have opened up the soul-searching floodgates it is hard to reign back in. I read a story about children playing in Italy and I stopped reading because again I was electrified. I knew what I wanted. To play with children in Italy. To write about and photograph them even. To try food there so exquisite that I suspect I might understand what it'd be like to be royalty.
Let me just tell you one last thing about the soul and you can go about your day blindly listening to Kesha, misconstruing that for music instead of the rubbish that it is.
I heard this band in Ireland. Street performers if you will. I heard them from inside a shop while perusing souvenirs. As soon as I heard it, I turned and headed for the door where a large crowd was already gathered. I kept inching closer and closer to the sounds of these musicians with their banjos or violins, or whatever it is they were playing so well and that feeling I've been referencing, I felt it then. So much so that again I wanted to start sobbing in the streets of Dublin. It sounds sort of pansy-ish and maybe I won't be able to make you understand. But those sounds were slowly moving up my list of Most Favorite Sounds I'd ever heard. Along with hearing babies coo and my parents laugh, the sound of this Irish street band was a sound I will always remember and always yearn to hear again.
But see, this is my soul. My soul craves music that moves me. Stories that make me pause and then get lost in myself. Writing that makes me want to not only be a better writer but a better person. Photography that takes me to places I thought could only exist for God.
I can only say this. Mine is different from yours. And if your soul honestly trembles to Kesha, then okay, I can't judge you on that though I sort of want to, I won't. But I suspect if you were honest with yourself your soul yearns for something more. Pay attention to it, because it won't lead you anywhere than a place you were already meant to go.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Best of Summer

All right folks prepare yourself for something exciting! My first ever Best of List! I know, I know; it's gonna be good. Because my summer was a lot of things, stressful/crazy/wonderful/unique I wanted to do a small compilation. Okay that's a lie. It won't be small. So without further ado...

Best Books:
(In the order of very best-though I must add all these books were top-notch)
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- If you haven't read this, you are insane.
2. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls- An unbelievable memoir that will make you feel truly blessed and sincerely make you question what you can actually achieve in this life.
3. The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank- A beautifully woven tale of womanhood that every girl can relate to.
4. Bossypants by Tina Fey- Everyone needs a little hilarity in their life and Tina Fey is it. I recommend the book on tape because you're privy to her wit firsthand.
5. We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg- This story of a mother and daughter's uncommon relationship will wow and warm you.
6. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding- Ahhh! I finally read this iconic book and yes it is better than the movie, though I will always dearly love the film. A perfect summer read and yes it made me feel a lot better about the state of my love life.
7. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos- A very untypical love story but one absolutely worth reading for its incredibly poetic feeling. This writer knows her craft.
8. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller- And yes, finally got around to reading this as well. Such an easy fast read, but a worthwhile heart-wrenching love story.
9. Lake Wobegone Summer of 1956 by Garrison Keillor- In a word-hysterical.

Best songs:
(Or songs I couldn't get enough of)
Paolo Nutini
-Coming up Easy
-Growing up beside you
First Aid Kit
-Hard Believer
-Ghost Town
-When I met up with the King
John Legend
-Everybody knows
Ben Gibbard
-Where our destination lies
Amos Lee
-Better Days
Brick and Lace
-Love is Wicked
Cold War Kids
Young the Giant
-Cough Syrup
-My Body
-Someone like you
-Set fire to the rain
Natasha Bedingfield
-Little too much
Fleetwood Mac
-Never going back again
Glee tracks
-Never going back again
Brett Dennon and Natalie Merchant
Across the Universe Soundtrack
-I've just seen a face
Olly Murs
-Thinking of me
Lorene Scafaria
-We can't be friends
-All I need
The Avett Brothers
-I and Love and You
Bedouin Soundclash
-Brutal Hearts
Ray Charles
-Georgia on my Mind
10000 Maniacs
-Because the Night
Lil Wayne
-How to love
Panda Bear
-Last night at the Jetty
Andy Grammer
-Fine by me

Best Movies:
*Funny Girl
*Jane Eyre (I could not stop renting this)
*Arthur (the new version was superb)
*The Young Victoria
*A Philadelphia Story
*Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Moments:
>Being at my family camp. LOVE IT. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.
>Actually waterskiing this year
>Attempting wakeboarding
>Seeing Vince Gill live for $3.00 and weeping to Go Rest High on that Mountain
>Going motorcycling with my uncle Lee
>Experiencing the Dirty South with my sister
>Lake Superior Scuba Diving
>Seeing one amazing James Heltunen
>Chats with my grandmama's
>Trying new things
>Learning to dap (that's for you Lace and Lex)
>Seeing two of my most amazing and beautiful friends wed their true loves. Pure Magic.
>Amish Country
>Sleeping in
>New York-Duh.
>Oh and last but not least, having only the finest people to spend my summer with: The Sturos bunch-all of you. My U.P. girls, WI girls, and Lower MI girls. The Rajala Clan. You all contributed to a most memorable summer and I thank you.

Until next time...