29 August 2007


al·che·my [al-kuh-mee] –noun, plural -mies for 2.
1.a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
2.any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

This...this alchemy. The "common substance" being my life and the "substance of great value" being evenings like this one. It's a word I like the sound of a lot lately, but it's also a word that perfectly describes what is happening tonight. Everyday magic. Peace. Harmony. Alchemy.

Let me back up. It was kind of a long, hard Wednesday. Kids didn't listen well in art class, I got black oil pastel on my light aqua blue pants, I felt like my hair looked stupid, the rain made the kids' shoes squeak and they took full advantage of the noise-making opportunity (know what's funny? i just mistyped that word and looked up and had typed "pooprtunity." I am chuckling uncontrollably right now.), the salad bar at lunch didn't have hummus...you know, the usual ridiculous, ungrateful complaints. I felt tired and grouchy. Ick. Blech. Gross.

I got home and changed into my grubbies for to go running, but dad stopped by. We sat and had a little heart to heart about the goings-on in both of our lives lately...happinesses, triumphs, sadnesses, hurdles...and I was so happy and grateful to have these stolen, uninterrupted mere minutes with my papa that I nearly found myself in tears. One doesn't know how much one needs her dad sometimes. He was in rare, all-ears form. It was lovely.

I kissed his cheek and squeezed him tight and so, I set out to run. Now, let me back up again...I haven't been keeping up with this whole running thing. I've been walking briskly but reluctantly, at best, every so often. So the fact that I ran almost the entire four miles this evening has upped my spirits considerably. Of course I am drenched and bright-red, head-pounding, but pain never feels so good as when you know you've done some good for your body. It helps when you find the perfect cadence in a series of songs, which I did. It also helps when the breeze picks up, promises rain, and blows you the rest of the way home, which it did.

The train is rumbling slowly past right now, and I can hear the electric sparking of the wheels as they roll rhythmically on the tracks. A storm is brewing; lightning and thunder are filling the moving sky above me, creating quite a show. I am on the front porch of my house with bare feet. I am dining on a deep bowl of sauteed dark green vegetables with a healthy shake of tamari. The bowl is one of my favorites from Anthropologie (creamy-butter-colored, cafe au lait style), and when combined with these delicate silver chopsticks, makes me feel like the daintiest, most livin-right girl in the county. The soundtrack is Neko Case, whom, when I saw her open for Rufus Wainwright, I didn't expect to love so much. I was wrong. She's actually singing about a thunderstorm right now in a song called "Maybe Sparrow," and the rain is just now beginning to fall with a suddenly powerful patter. See? Alchemy.

A little later Angela and Sarah are coming over for late night porch-sitting, cigars, and honeymoon-souvenir brandy from Grenada -- a perfect formula for more...you guessed it....alchemy. It's everywhere, don't you see?