Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Shoulders of Your Heart

I'm a chronic song repeater.

What I love best is when I find a song that moves me. The kind that I immediately have to look up the lyrics for, because one line catches my ear and I'm suddenly sure it's been written just for me. It means a lot to me when I come across a song that just NAILS my life and heart at the moment. You can bet that if I find just such a song, it's going to be on loop for hours/days/weeks to come. It's like it puts into words/notes what I'm feeling and I just need to let it soak into me until maybe some of those feelings will untangle themselves somewhere around the climactic bridge and drain out of me with the final chords.

I came across this song in February.

I usually love February (hello, birthday month!) but this year I was hurting so bad through most of it. In matters of the heart, I was dealing with more than one letdown in the form of dating (one boy who stopped calling, one who I asked to stop calling, and one old flame who put a ring on someone else's finger). In career world, I was emotionally spent and then some. As of February, I was 7 months into my California adventure, 9 months out of my last full-time writing job, 3 months into my random retail Ralph Lauren gig which (finally, gratefully, amazingly) paid the rent but also made me feel like a guppy out of water, and still 2 months away from landing my current temp gig at Google. Like I said, emotionally spent, but trying so-so-so-so hard to keep a smile on my face and a grip on the handlebars.

It's one thing to be in the middle of a long tunnel with a definable end (e.g. school and graduation, etc.), but it's another thing entirely to have zero concept of the length of your tunnel, where the end might be, what happens at the end, if there even is an end....it's taxing. And all the risks that made you get into that tunnel in the first place start to feel questionable, but also thrilling, but also exhausting, and maybe slightly pukey. (Which is accurate, because I totally had the flu for a solid 9-10 days in February. I think my emotions became a raging fever and attempted to assassinate me from the inside out.)

I was sitting at my kitchen table when I first heard the Pioneer song.

I don't remember what I was doing. Blogging? Reading? Eating? Job hunting? Staring out the window? Anyway, music was playing in the background as it always is, and I was checking out The Band Perry's latest album at the suggestion of a boy. And there that song was. And the words caught me, and kind of paralyzed me, and a few lines in all these hot little tears started rolling their way down my cheeks. I hit repeat the minute the song ended, wrote the lyrics in my journal that night, and can't even tell you how many times I listened to that song again in the days, weeks, months to follow.

I've moved on to different songs in the few months since then, and many of the dark spots of that February tunnel are now just bumps in the past as I navigate my current bumps/turns/crevices.

But the Pioneer song came on my shuffle again today and, for a minute, took me back to a kitchen table in February, all those hot little tears sliding onto my neck, and one scared, exhausted girl trying very much to be an adult but very much not feeling like she was even close to pulling it off.

Just a good reminder for me that all things pass. And that you gotta trust your heart when you're somewhere out on that plain not sure where you're going or why you even left, other than that it felt like the right thing to do. And that new bumps replace the old ones, but it's good to know that you've already forded a few rivers when you're faced with the next one. (Insert witty Oregon Trail analogies.) (Please bless no dysentery or lame oxen.)

And now you can give it a listen and enjoy the lyrics:

Oh pioneer, I sing your song
It's the hymn of those who've gone before and those who carry on
Pioneer, your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going?
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us?
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Oh pioneer, so young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way
Pioneer, you orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Let your heart not be troubled

I won't run when bullets chase me
I won't rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Iceland Photos, Part 2 of 2

You didn't actually think I'd pull off both halves of this post within a couple days, did you? Ah, but I'm doing it! Look at me go!

In Part 1 I gave you all the city pictures. Now let's move on to the country! When Cami and I weren't in Reykjavik, we were out in our natural habitat bonding with the rolling green hills and waterfalls and sheep and horses and black sand beaches. (And by "natural habitat" I mean "we both like to be outside in beautiful, quiet places and should probably live on farms someday.")

The best word I keep coming up with to describe Iceland is "other-worldly." It seriously feels like another planet. Every few minutes out on the road, Cami and I would look at each other and say, "This is insane." Looking out your window and seeing waterfalls cascading down the emerald-green sides of volcano territory, with fog rolling in and turf houses hiding here and there....like The Shire!....it is something I personally need each of you to experience once in your life. I NEED THIS FOR YOU. #outburst

We saw several waterfalls, but the one that most took my breath away was Seljalandsfoss (it's the one below with the rainbow, and also in the really green photo of the guy on the bench with his back to me). I feel like I have a reverence for that exact spot in the world! Other things pictured below include the black sand beaches near Vik, the famous Geysir, the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon (which we both waded into even though it made for very cold legs and very damp pants) (uhhh I don't like the phrase "damp pants"), our trip to the Blue Lagoon, and other random shenanigans.

We stayed two nights in a little country farm inn, and that was one of the better decisions I've ever made in my entire life. I've always known that at least part of me belongs on a farm, and if it's going to be a farm why not go big and have it be an Icelandic farm with a clothesline and roaming sheep and a fantastic spread at breakfast? It might be one of my happiest places on earth. We stayed up late one night (who cares? it's light outside all night!) and watched Father of the Bride II on a random British channel in the shared lobby space. Such a good time.

Now I'm all super nostalgic and I have to stop before this gets any longer and I weep on my keyboard. Gahhh!

....on to the photos!
(And yes, I found that dog in a random field. We were best friends and played fetch with a rock. He insisted because he wears the pants in our relationship.)

See also:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Iceland Photos, Part 1 of 2

Drumroll, please.....

The Iceland pictures are now here! I already gave you a post about my travel tips for Iceland, and now I will give you pictures to convince you to go! (You could probably look up professional photos for even more convincing. Doooo it.)

These are all my photos of my time in Reykjavik.

Ah, that pretty city! It's coastal, it's got pops of color, the people are friendly (including abundant bearded men, holla!), it has a lovely flea market, there's a whole pile of pretty boats, and there's street art on the walls around every corner! MY MECCA.

And can we talk about the park? There's this big park. I forgot to take a picture. But it's beautiful and lovely and the children were running free. I love that everything in Reykjavik was open til 11pm (why not when it's light all night?) and people wandered the streets at those hours casually like it was the middle of the day.

I really felt at home in this city after just a day or two to adjust. After going out to the countryside (those pics are coming in Part 2), I felt like I was coming home when I came back into Reykjavik before we left. It's small, it's easy to navigate the city center on foot, and it's just a fantastic place to explore.

And there's nothing that warms my heart quite like exploring!

Don't mind that the photos are all from my iPhone. Like I said, professional photos are out there for the viewing/taking/enjoying.....but here's my take on this lovely place.

(I put a dot sticker on that map right over the Bay Area! Woot!)
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